Health Informatics and The Cultural Divide: A UK Perspective

McPherson, S.; Wilkinson, M.
Health Informatics Journal

This paper discusses the concerns about the growing ‘digital divide’ within society which has implications for maintaining both health and social inequalities in the UK. The main focus of the paper is about inequalities in health relating to culture and ethnicity. Different theoretical approaches to cultural differences in health are set out as well as different ways of classifying cultural and ethnic differences in health service research. The argument then goes on to suggest that the emphasis on cultural and ethnic categorization only further divides people and fails to reduce inequalities. Transculturalism is defined and set out as a more useful way of approaching cultural difference as it is less restrictive and prescriptive. The paper sets out how this approach can be used to develop better quality health content in health informatics that is useful and relevant to a wider range of users, thus tackling both the digital divide and health inequalities.