The Role of E-Health Literacy in Preventive Behaviors for COVID-19: A Systematic Review

Document Type : Systematic Review


1 Ferdows school of Paramedical and Health, Birjand University of Medical Sciences, Birjand, Iran

2 Student Research Committee, Birjand University of Medical Sciences, Birjand, Iran

3 Social Determinants of Health Research Center, Gonabad University of medical sciences, Gonabad, Iran

4 Department of Health Information Technology, Ferdows School of Health and Allied Medical Sciences, Birjand University of Medical Sciences, Birjand, Iran.


Background and Objective: E-health literacy is a set of skills that evaluates health information in electronic information resources. Due to the importance of COVID-19 prevention, the present systematic review investigated the role of e-health literacy in preventive behaviors for COVID-19.

Materials and Methods: A systematic review was performed following the principles of PRISMA. The main databases including the Scopus, Web of Science, and PubMed databases were searched on August 2, 2021, without restrictions in publication time. The selected keywords were combined via Boolean operators including “Computer Literacy, » «Telehealth literacy, » «Mobile health literacy, » «Electronic health literacy, » «E-Health literacy,» «E-health literacy,» «Health technology literacy,» «Digital health literacy,» «Health Information literacy,» «Digital literacy,» «Technology literacy,» «Internet literacy,» «Online health literacy,» «Online health information literacy» and the words related to the COVID-19. Inclusion criteria consisted of original articles, which evaluated the effect of e-health literacy on the preventive behavior toward COVID-19.

Results: Among 694 retrieved articles, eight papers were eventually included in this study, four studies examined the effect of e-health literacy on the acceptance of health behaviors and general behaviors. Moreover, one study reviewed the role of e-health literacy in enhancing preventive behaviors and preventing related infections. Another study investigated the effect of socioeconomic status on e-health literacy and adherence to prevention guidelines. Another research developed and implemented digital health literacy to promote mother, child, and family health regarding disease prevention. Moreover, health behaviors related to COVID-19, health literacy, and e-health literacy were investigated in another study.

Conclusion: Enhancing the levels of e-health literacy is one of the recognized methods to increase the observance and adherence to the guidelines which was designated to control and prevention of the COVID-19 disease. Accordingly, relevant organizations and institutions, including the Ministry of Health, universities, and medical centers, need to design and develop appropriate training programs in this context.


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