Health Literacy has various definitions, but it is generally considered to
be the ability to read, understand, and act on health care information. There
is a large segment of the American public that can not take full advantage
of our health care system due to limited literacy skills. In addition, printed
health information is often provided in a manner that is inconsistent with
the health literacy skill level of the intended audience.
HEALTH LITERACY FACT SHEETS FROM THE CENTER FOR HEALTH CARE STRATEGIES
1. What is Health Literacy?
2. Who has Health Literacy Problems?
3. The Impact of Low Health Literacy Skills on Annual Health Care Expenditures.
4. Health Literacy and Understanding Medical Information.
5. Health Communication and Cultural Diversity.
National Libraries of Medicine
Understanding Health Literacy and Its Barriers
World Education Health and Literacy Initiative
The Health and Literacy Compendium includes over 80 citations to print and
Web materials concerning health and literacy. The materials listed include
curricula, videos, readers, student-created materials, guides for developing
and assessing low-literacy materials, and bibliographies and databases.
WEB LINKS FOR HEALTH LITERACY INFORMATION
Health and Literacy Compendium
The health and literacy compendium provides web and print-based health materials
for use with low-literacy adults. Included are resources about books, reports
and journals on what low health literacy is, how to assess and develop plain
language materials, and curricula for use in literacy classrooms and community
The Ohio State University Medical Center
The goals of the Ohio State University Health Literacy Initiative (HLI) are
to raise awareness in Ohio that health literacy is an important public health
and health care issue. The web site contains reference material and training
modules for those interested in health literacy.
Health and Literacy Special Collection
On this site you will find: Health Lessons and Activities; Easy-to-Read Health
Information; Multilingual Health Information; and Health Literacy Research.
National Academy of Sciences
The health literacy section of this website contains a brief report on the
April 2004 publication, AHealth Literacy: A Prescription to End Confusion,@
and information on how to order the book.
Agency for Health Research & Quality
This government agency has a number of reports and documents in their Health
Literacy and Cultural Competency section. Among them is the January 2004 evidence-based
report, Literacy and Health Outcomes.
National Cancer Institute
The guideline, Clear & Simple: Developing Effective Print Materials for
Low-Literate Readers provides an excellent step-by-step method for material
The Plain Language Action and Information Network (PLAIN), promotes the use
of plain language. To get the best health outcomes, health-related decisions
should be based on clear and correct understanding of relevant health information
American Medical Association Foundation
The AMA Foundation is working to raise awareness among health care providers
about the link between health outcomes and literacy.
LINCS B Health and Literacy
This website is a service of the National Institute for Literacy and contains
information on why health literacy and plain language materials are important,
and how to make your community more health literate. A health care provider
resources page has a list of other web sites with health literacy information
and plain language handouts.
Partnership for Clear Health Communication
Ask Me3 is a solution-based initiative to improve health communication between
patients and providers. Free materials can be ordered to help institute the
program in a health setting.
Center for Health Care Strategies
This series of nine fact sheets was created for those who are designing patient
education materials for consumers with low health literacy skills. The sheets
define health literacy, describe its impact on health outcomes, provide strategies
to prepare appropriate educational materials to assist low-literate consumers,
and provide resources for additional health literacy information and publications.
Harvard School of Public Health
This site is designed for professionals in health and education who are interested
in health literacy. It contains materials you may find useful for your work.
: Consumer health information that's unbiased and credible from university health professionals. Ask university faculty questions. It's completely confidential, anonymous, unbiased, and free.