The private sector is a growing source of health information, particularly in the digital consumer product and community-based care spaces. Apple, Google and Amazon have entered the health arena with a variety of products and offerings. These organizations are looking to replicate the consumer-friendly experience they’re known for in the health space at a time when it is becoming possible to quantify our lives: how much we walk, eat, sleep and breathe. Apple products don’t come with thick instruction manuals. The company prides itself on intuitive design.
Private sector approaches to digital product development are reflect some health literacy principles, including user-centered design, field-testing, and iteration based on feedback. As initiatives like precision medicine increase consumers’ appetites for personalized care and treatments, the private sector will increasingly produce consumer health information.
Another robust private sector source of health information is the retail pharmacy outlet. Located in drug and grocery stores, these pharmacies blur the line between the consumer shopping and health care experience. Most sites offer vaccinations and an increasing number are starting to provide basic primary and urgent care services.
Health care is no longer limited to health systems and traditional clinical settings. Health information is everywhere, challenging consumers’ health literacy skills on a daily basis.