More than half of Germans believe they sometimes to often find false news about the Corona pandemic in digital media. This is the conclusion reached by researchers from the Leibniz ScienceCampus Digital Public Health (LWC DiPH) in Bremen in their first report on digitalization and health.
More than half of Germans believe they sometimes to often find false news about the Corona pandemic in the digital media. This is the conclusion reached by researchers from the Leibniz ScienceCampus Digital Public Health (LWC DiPH) in Bremen in their first report on digitization and health.
"During the Corona pandemic, the use of digitization for health-related purposes developed particularly rapidly," says Prof. Dr. Hajo Zeeb, spokesperson of the LWC DiPH and head of the Department of Prevention and Evaluation at the Leibniz Institute for Prevention Research and Epidemiology - BIPS. "Our data show that the general population in Germany is informed about the Corona pandemic. However, trust in online information is low. This can be attributed to the so-called "infodemic", a mixture of correct and invented information about the Corona pandemic. Especially people with low health literacy have problems recognizing the made-up news as such."
In addition to the topic of digitization and the Corona pandemic, the study examined attitudes toward and use of digital technologies for health-related purposes. It did so using a nationwide survey of the general population in Germany. A total of 1014 Internet users from all 16 German states were surveyed using computer-assisted telephone interviews in October 2020 on the topic of digitization and health in the four thematic areas of "attitudes toward and use of digital technologies," "digitization and physical activity," "digitization and corona pandemic," and "digital health literacy." The study was funded by the Bremen Stock Exchange Foundation and will be repeated after two years.
More than half of the participants (57 percent) said they had already used digital technologies for health-related purposes. The majority believe that digitization will be important for therapy and healthcare (89 percent), health promotion (69 percent) and maintaining health in the future.
About half of participants (52 percent) found that online news about the Corona pandemic is often not entirely accurate. However, this seems to worry them little: 78 percent said they were confident in recognizing made-up news or fake news as such. The Corona alert app was installed by 43 percent of participants.
Of the 1014 participants, 220 (22 percent) reported using digital technologies to support physical activity. Of these 220, 85 percent found these digital technologies easy to use. Overall, 93 percent of the 220 participants reported being moderately physically active for 30 minutes or more at least once a week. Of these, 64 percent used digital technologies for these purposes.
"The general population expects digitization to impact health care and health-related decisions. The use of digital technologies is generally accepted for some purposes, such as promoting physical activity," judges Dr. Karina Karolina De Santis, lead author of the study. She notes, "Despite high digital health literacy, trust in digital health-related information and decisions is low, as the Corona pandemic example shows. Use of digital technologies for health appears to be dependent on sociodemographic factors. The results of our study suggest that the topic of digitalization and health has great potential for future research."