Digital health applications and health literacy: an explorative analysis


  • Aylin Imeri Ruhr University
  • Sabrina Schorr Ruhr University
  • Sebastian Merkel Ruhr University



health literacy, DiGA, digital health application, exploratory study


Introduction. In 2020, Digital Health Applications (known as DiGA) have been introduced to the German healthcare system. DiGA are medical devices based on digital technologies that can be prescribed by physician and psychotherapists and reimbursed by health insurance companies. DiGA must demonstrate a positive healthcare effect, e.g. by improving of health literacy. Health literacy as a concept has received increasing attention in recent years but has also been subject to a vivid debate on its theoretical underpinning and methodological challenges.

Method & Analysis. For this study, all 53 DiGA listed in the official registry were reviewed. We searched the DiGA registry to answer the following research question: do DiGA measure health literacy and which health literacy measurement instruments are applied?

Results. Of the 53 DiGA listed, 29 are permanently and 24 provisionally listed in the DiGA directory. Although seven DiGA use health literacy measurement tools, the theoretical or conceptual explanation of these tools and the decision to use them is lacking.

Conclusion. This paper argues that there is a need to empirically investigate the motivation of DiGA developers, taking into account the use and non-use of health literacy measurement tools.




How to Cite

Imeri, A., Schorr, S., & Merkel, S. (2024). Digital health applications and health literacy: an explorative analysis. Information Research an International Electronic Journal, 29(2), 378–385.