In the News

On this page you will find the latest news on what’s happening in the world of patient engagement and health literacy.


Good things happening to support digital health literacy

March 22, 2021 (MirageNews)

A digital health literacy initiative funded by the Australian Digital Health Agency last year is reaping significant rewards and helping bridge the digital divide that precludes many Australians accessing improved health services.

Last year, 71 community organisations across Australia were selected by the Good Things Foundation to teach digital health literacy skills through the Health My Way program and improve digital inclusion.


Testing the Digital Health Literacy Instrument for Adolescents: Cognitive Interviews

March 15, 2021 (JMIR)

Despite the increasing number of youth seeking health information on the internet, few studies have been conducted to measure digital health literacy in this population. The digital health literacy instrument (DHLI) is defined as a scale that measures the ability to operate digital devices and read and write in web-based modes, and it assesses seven subconstructs: operational skills, navigation skills, information searching, evaluating reliability, determining relevance, adding self-generated content to a web-based app, and protecting privacy. Currently, there is no validation process of this instrument among adolescents.

Access Testing the Digital Health Literacy Instrument for Adolescents: Cognitive Interviews


Biden Invests $250M for Community-Based COVID-19 Vaccination, Equity

March 12, 2021 (xtelligent Healthcare Media)

The Biden Administration recently announced a $250 million investment to encourage COVID-19 vaccination using community-based care to improve health literacy. The funding will be offered as a health literacy grant to localities to reach racial and ethnic minority, rural, and other vulnerable or underserved populations. The initiative, called Advancing Health Literacy to Enhance Equitable Community Responses to COVID-19, is expected to fund nearly 30 projects in urban communities and 43 projects in rural communities for two years.

Access Biden Invests $250M for Community-Based COVID-19 Vaccination, Equity


Updating Health Literacy for Healthy People 2030: Defining Its Importance for a New Decade in Public Health

March 12, 2021 (PubMed)

Healthy People 2030…provides science-based national health objectives with targets to improve the health and well-being of Americans. For the first time since its 1979 establishment, the Healthy People framework aims to attain health literacy as an Overarching Goal and Foundational Principle to achieving health and well-being. Growing literature on health literacy describes it as a concept not solely reliant on individual capabilities but also on organizations’ ability to make health-related information and services equitably accessible and comprehensible.

The 2 separate analyses revealed plurality support for improving the definition to focus on both individual and organizational roles in health literacy. Results led HHS subject matter experts to update the definition to include definitions of personal health literacy and organizational health literacy. Healthy People 2030’s expanded health literacy definition reflects the most current science and input from the Secretary’s Advisory Committee, public comments, and HHS subject matter experts.

Access Updating Health Literacy for Healthy People 2030: Defining Its Importance for a New Decade in Public Health


Approach to Improving Patient Safety: Communication

March 10, 2021 (Patient Safety Network)

Each one of the countless necessary communication points between providers and between providers and patients or family caregivers represents an unwelcome opportunity for a patient safety event. During a year when society has been focused on limiting the number of in-person interactions due to the risk of COVID-19, there is a need to acknowledge and prioritize the critical role communication still plays in the safe delivery of healthcare. In 2020, researchers explored current challenges to effective communication with patients, the impact of different techniques to improve communication between providers and with patients, and lessons learned from communication practices during the COVID-19 pandemic that may have applicability beyond the pandemic.

Access Approach to Improving Patient Safety: Communication


Federally Funded Research

March, 2021 (CDC)

The federal government supports and encourages health literacy research in several ways. On this page you can find funding opportunities, research findings, and training initiatives from several federal government agencies.


The Readability of Outpatient Plastic Surgery Clinic Letters: Are We Adhering to Plain English Writing Standards?

Jan-Mar, 2021 (PubMed)

This study aims to determine the quantity and quality of plastic surgery clinic letters sent to patients before and during the Covid-19 pandemic. Text was analyzed using a standardized set of commonly used readability formulae, including SMOG, Flesch Reading Ease, and the Coleman-Liao Index. A total of 100 pre-Covid and 58 peri-Covid letters were suitable for inclusion. Median results for formulae that output a U.S. grade score ranged between 9 and 12.9 for letters written prior to Covid-19 and 9 and 13.2 for those written during Covid-19. Eight percent of letters were sent to patients pre-Covid, increasing to 28% during the pandemic. Letters sent to patients had a median grade score of between 8 and 12 prior to Covid-19 and 8 and 10.6 during Covid-19. Letters sent to clinicians ranged between 9 and 13 and 9 and 13.3, respectively. Outpatient plastic surgery letters are written at a readability level too high to facilitate understanding among the general population. The increase in direct-to-patient contact during the Covid-19 outbreak has not led to a significant improvement in the readability of clinic letters. The authors suggest an increase in letter standardization and raising awareness of readability when writing clinic letters.

Access The Readability of Outpatient Plastic Surgery Clinic Letters: Are We Adhering to Plain English Writing Standards?


Examining the Relationship between Health Literacy and Hearing Health Care Use

March, 2021 (TheHearingJournal)

With 48.1 million (or 20.3%) of Americans and 466 million people worldwide estimated to have some degree of hearing loss, hearing impairment is one of the most prevalent medical conditions globally. However, despite evidence suggesting that hearing loss can impact a patient’s daily function, quality of life, and overall health, only 14 percent of Americans over the age of 50 who need hearing aids actually wear them. While several factors contribute to this low rate of hearing aid adoption, the financial and motivational barriers to accessing hearing tests and hearing aids are significant ones. Since hearing screenings for adults are not routinely conducted at the primary care level, the responsibility often falls on patients or their family to recognize and address the issue. This complexity in navigating the hearing health care system can make it particularly difficult for those with inadequate health literacy to access the care that they need.

Access Examining the Relationship between Health Literacy and Hearing Health Care Use


Disparities in Research Participation by Level of Health Literacy

February, 2021 (PubMed)

We examined the independent association of patients’ health literacy with two steps in their research participation decision-making process: (1) research interest – willingness to hear more about a research study; and (2) research participation – the decision to enroll after an informed consent discussion. Best practices for effective health communication were implemented in recruitment approaches and informed consent processes. Using logistic regression models, we determined patient characteristics independently associated with patients’ willingness to hear about and participate in the study.

In unadjusted analyses, participants with higher health literacy, and those who were younger, female, or had more education had higher levels of both research interest and research participation. Health literacy remained independently associated with both outcomes in multivariable models, after adjustment for sociodemographic factors.

Because identical variables predicted both research interest and eventual consent, efforts to recruit broad populations must include acceptable methods of approaching potential participants as well as explaining study materials.

Access Disparities in Research Participation by Level of Health Literacy


“People play it down and tell me it can’t kill people, but I know people are dying each day”. Children’s health literacy relating to a global pandemic (COVID-19); an international cross sectional study

February 10, 2021 (PubMed)

The aim of this study was to examine aspects of children’s health literacy; the information sources they were accessing, their information preferences, their perceived understanding of and their reported information needs in relation to COVID-19. An online survey for children aged 7-12 years of age and parent/caregivers from the UK, Sweden, Brazil, Spain, Canada and Australia was conducted between 6th of April and the 1st of June 2020.  The findings show that parents are the main source of information for children during the pandemic in most countries, except in Sweden where school was the main source of information. However, in many cases parents chose to shield, filter or adapt their child’s access to information about COVID-19, especially in relation to the death rates within each country. Despite this, children in this study reported knowing that COVID-19 was deadly and spreads quickly. This paper argues for a community rather than individual approach to addressing children’s health literacy needs during a pandemic.

Access “People play it down and tell me it can’t kill people, but I know people are dying each day”. Children’s health literacy relating to a global pandemic (COVID-19); an international cross sectional study


Patients With Poor Health Literacy Less Likely to Elect Hospice

February 2, 2021 (Hospice News)

Patients who have low levels of health literacy are more likely to seek intensive curative treatment at the end-of-life, as opposed to choosing hospice care. In addition to disparities in hospice utilization associated with race or ethnicity, a patient’s understanding of their condition and the available treatments may also be a contributing factor, according to a recent study in the American Journal of Hospice & Palliative Medicine.

Access Patients With Poor Health Literacy Less Likely to Elect Hospice


Addressing Health Literacy Needs in Rheumatology: Which Patient Health Literacy Profiles Need the Attention of Health Professionals?

January, 2021 (PubMed)

Objective: To identify and describe health literacy profiles of patients with rheumatic diseases and explore whether the identified health literacy profiles can be generalized to a broader rheumatology context.

Results: Among 895 participating patients, the lowest mean HLQ domain scores (indicating most difficulty) were found for “critical appraisal,” “navigating the health system,” and “finding good health information.” The 10 identified profiles revealed substantial diversity in combinations of strengths and weaknesses. While 42% of patients scored moderate to high on all 9 domains (profiles 1 and 3), another 42% of patients (profiles 2, 4, 5, and 6) clearly struggled with 1 or several aspects of health literacy. Notably, 16% (profiles 7-10) exhibited difficulty across a majority of health literacy domains. The probability of belonging to one of the profiles was independent of the hospital where the patient was treated or the type of rheumatic disease.

Conclusion: Ten distinct health literacy profiles were identified among patients with rheumatic diseases, independent of disease type and treating hospital. These profiles can be used to facilitate the development of health literacy interventions in rheumatology.

Access Addressing Health Literacy Needs in Rheumatology: Which Patient Health Literacy Profiles Need the Attention of Health Professionals?


Health literacy in persons at risk of and patients with coronary heart disease: A systematic review

January, 2021 (PubMed)

Health literacy (HL) plays a crucial role in the maintenance and improvement of individual health. Empirical findings highlight the relation between a person’s HL-level and clinical outcomes. However, the role of HL in persons at risk for coronary heart disease (CHD) and patients with CHD has not been researched conclusively. The concept of HL yields a promising potential to understand the process from obtaining information to actual health behavior change, and the results clearly indicate the need for more systematic research on HL in CHD patients and persons at risk.

Access Health literacy in persons at risk of and patients with coronary heart disease: A systematic review


Considerations on Health Literacy and Hearing Aid Use

February, 2021 (The Hearing Journal)

Experts in many fields can find it challenging to communicate with non-experts; it requires effort to avoid field-specific terminology commonly used among peers but is impenetrable jargon to a layperson. Existing evidence for audiology suggests that hearing specialists are not immune to this difficulty, with clinicians and other experts communicating using a vocabulary that is at a much higher reading level than that of their patients. Moreover, it has been shown that the more complex the audiologists’ language, the lower the likelihood of hearing aid uptake by the patient. Missing from our understanding is the relationship between the patients’ ability to understand health-related information and their use of hearing health care.

Access Considerations on Health Literacy and Hearing Aid Use


NATIONAL HEALTHCARE QUALITY AND DISPARITIES REPORT CHARTBOOK ON PATIENT SAFETY

February, 2021 (U.S. DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES)

This Patient Safety Chartbook is part of a family of documents and tools that support the National Healthcare Quality and Disparities Report (NHQDR). The NHQDR is an annual report to Congress mandated in the Healthcare Research and Quality Act of 1999… The NHQDR provides a comprehensive overview of the quality of healthcare received by the general U.S. population and disparities in care experienced by different racial and socioeconomic groups. The purpose of the reports is to assess the performance of our healthcare system and to identify areas of strengths and weaknesses in the healthcare system along three main axes: access to healthcare, quality of healthcare, and NHQDR priorities.

Access NATIONAL HEALTHCARE QUALITY AND DISPARITIES REPORT CHARTBOOK ON PATIENT SAFETY


Health literacy in persons at risk of and patients with coronary heart disease: A systematic review

February, 2021 (PubMed)

The aim of this rapid scoping review, for which only studies from the general population were considered, was to describe the extent of existing research on HL in the context of previous coronavirus outbreaks. 72 studies were included. Three investigated HL or explicitly referred to the concept of HL, 14 were guided by health behaviour theory. We did not find any study designed to develop or psychometrically evaluate pandemic/epidemic HL instruments, or relate pandemic/epidemic or general HL to a pandemic/epidemic outcome, or any controlled intervention study.

Access Health literacy in persons at risk of and patients with coronary heart disease: A systematic review


Testing the reliability of the Health Literacy Questionnaire with carers of older adults receiving hospital care

January 19, 2021 (PubMed)

Objective: To determine the re-test reliability of the Health Literacy Questionnaire (HLQ) with carers of older adults discharged from hospital or attending the outpatient clinic.

Results: Fifty-one carers of older patients participated. The HLQ showed good reliability (ICC = 0.75-0.90) for seven of the nine scales and moderate reliability (0.50-0.74) for the other two scales. Median completion time was 16.5 minutes (range 9-50), and acceptability was rated as 9.5/10.

Conclusion: The HLQ is a reliable tool for use with carers of older adults attending hospital. However, the length of time for completion of the HLQ may limit its feasibility for use by hospital staff and carers, given the high stress and time pressures of acute care.

Access Testing the reliability of the Health Literacy Questionnaire with carers of older adults receiving hospital care


Promoting social capital, self-management and health literacy in older adults through a group-based intervention delivered in low-income urban areas: results of the randomized trial AEQUALIS

January 7, 2021 (PubMed)

Evidence is scarce on how to promote health and decrease cumulative inequalities for disadvantaged older people. Downstream complex interventions focusing on intermediate factors (self-management, health literacy and social capital) may have the potential to mitigate the inequitable impacts of social determinants in health. The aim of the AEQUALIS study was to assess the effectiveness of a group-based intervention to improve self-perceived health as indicator of health inequality.

Access Promoting social capital, self-management and health literacy in older adults through a group-based intervention delivered in low-income urban areas: results of the randomized trial AEQUALIS


The Relationship Between Attitudes about Research and Health Literacy among African American and White (Non-Hispanic) Community Dwelling Older Adults

January 7, 2021 (PubMed)

Ethnic minority representation lacks in research. Understanding factors that promote minorities in research helps address this participation gap. Minorities often face representation disparities, including health education, socioeconomic status, and race. Compared to other races in the USA, over 50% of African Americans (AA) over age 65 face obstacles towards achieving basic health literacy skills. This study aims to investigate differences in beliefs regarding research and health literacy between White and AA participants.

Access The Relationship Between Attitudes about Research and Health Literacy among African American and White (Non-Hispanic) Community Dwelling Older Adults


Organizational Health Literacy: Opportunities for Patient-Centered Care in the Wake of COVID-19

Jan/Mar, 2021 (PubMed)

The coronavirus disease-2019 (COVID-19) pandemic is transforming the health care sector. As health care organizations move from crisis mobilization to a new landscape of health and social needs, organizational health literacy offers practical building blocks to provide high-quality, efficient, and meaningful care to patients and their families. This article provides practical guidance for systems and informs decisions around resource allocation and organizational priorities to best meet the needs of patient populations even in the face of financial and workforce disruption.

Access Organizational Health Literacy: Opportunities for Patient-Centered Care in the Wake of COVID-19


Health literacy meets the life-course perspective: towards a conceptual framework

December 31, 2020 (PubMed)

This paper presents a novel conceptual framework combining the concepts of health literacy and life-course to guide public health planning and research. Health literacy is a key competence that enables individuals to navigate health-care systems and health promotion activities. The life-course perspective places emphasis on how disease risk accumulates along the life trajectory from fetal life onwards, and how it can even pass from one generation to the next. Our conceptual framework illustrates how different domains of health literacy are required, and how the unequal distribution of health literacy may be influenced by social determinants at different times in the life-course. Thus, it is essential to disaggregate health literacy into sub-themes and analyse them as they unfold in a long-term life-course perspective. The suggested framework would allow these patterns to be mapped, thereby enabling public health planners to strategically target health literacy promotion programmes to the right population segments at the right time.

Access Health literacy meets the life-course perspective: towards a conceptual framework


Interrelationships Between Patients’ Data Tracking Practices, Data Sharing Practices, and Health Literacy: Onsite Survey Study

December 22, 2020 (PubMed)

Although the use of patient-generated data (PGD) in the optimization of patient care shows great promise, little is known about whether patients who track their PGD necessarily share the data with their clinicians. Meanwhile, health literacy-an important construct that captures an individual’s ability to manage their health and to engage with their health care providers-has often been neglected in prior studies focused on PGD tracking and sharing. To leverage the full potential of PGD, it is necessary to bridge the gap between patients’ data tracking and data sharing practices by first understanding the interrelationships between these practices and the factors contributing to these practices.

Access Interrelationships Between Patients’ Data Tracking Practices, Data Sharing Practices, and Health Literacy: Onsite Survey Study


Equity and health literacy: Using emerging evidence to inform the development of the National Preventive Health Strategy

December 7, 2020 (PubMed)

The term “health literacy” is used widely in global health promotion contexts. It is firmly embedded into Australian health research, policy and practice lexicon, although occasionally remains a contested space. While there are multiple definitions that encompass individual, population and environmental health literacy, the underlying tenet is that health literacy is critical for sustaining optimal health and well‐being. Indeed, health literacy is increasingly being viewed as a social determinant of health in its own right; and one which also powerfully influences other social determinants of health. Not surprisingly, health literacy scholarship is now synonymous with discussions about health equity. That is, vulnerable, disadvantaged, disempowered and marginalised populations throughout the world are reported to have poorer health literacy; and are often faced with health systems and service environments that are hard to access or difficult to navigate. We argue that this needs to change. And fast.

Access Equity and health literacy: Using emerging evidence to inform the development of the National Preventive Health Strategy


The Effectiveness of an Active Learning Program in Promoting a Healthy Lifestyle among Older Adults with Low Health Literacy: A Randomized Controlled Trial

December 3, 2020 (PubMed)

The aim of this study was to examine the effects of an active learning program on health literacy, lifestyle behaviors, physical function, and mental health among community-dwelling older adults with low health literacy. When compared to the control group, the intervention group demonstrated a significant improvement in communicative health literacy, step count, engagement in moderate-to-vigorous physical activity, dietary variety, life-space mobility, social network size, grip strength, gait speed, and depressive symptoms. The active learning program can promote a healthy lifestyle and prevent functional decline among older adults who lack the confidence to engage in health communication.

Access The Effectiveness of an Active Learning Program in Promoting a Healthy Lifestyle among Older Adults with Low Health Literacy: A Randomized Controlled Trial


Health Literacy for Cardiac Rehabilitation: An Examination of Associated Illness Perceptions, Self-Efficacy, Motivation and Physical Activity

November, 2020 (PubMed)

Health literacy has been shown to be lower in patients with cardiovascular disease, yet research into health literacy in this population is limited. This study used the Health Literacy Questionnaire (HLQ) to examine the health literacy and associated health, health behaviours and psychological profiles of cardiac rehabilitation patients from a remote and rural regional programme in the Scottish Highlands. Hierarchical cluster analysis grouped respondents based on their health literacy profile, and nonparametric methods were used to analyse differences between clusters on the other measures. A total of 282 participants responded (45.7%). Respondents were older (median: 71 years) and more likely to be from more affluent areas. Five health literacy clusters emerged with different profiles of health, physical activity, self-efficacy, motivation and illness perceptions. There was no difference in relation to cardiac rehabilitation attendance by health literacy cluster, but those with lower health literacy were less likely to be aware of the referral. Patterns of health literacy are associated with health, health behaviours and some psychological constructs. Knowledge of distinct cluster characteristics may help services better target interventions.

Access Health Literacy for Cardiac Rehabilitation: An Examination of Associated Illness Perceptions, Self-Efficacy, Motivation and Physical Activity


Health literacy on oral health practice and condition in an adult and elderly population

November 30, 2020 (PubMed)

The objective of this study was to investigate the impact of health literacy (HL) on health practices and oral health outcomes in an adult and elderly population in Brazil. A cross-sectional study nested in a cohort study was followed up over a period of four years (2011 and 2015) and assessed individuals between 23 and 69 years old from Piracicaba, São Paulo, Brazil. Based on age and sex, LHL was associated with use of public dental service and use of emergency dental visits. Based on age, sex and socioeconomic status, LHL was associated with use of emergency dental visits.

Access Health literacy on oral health practice and condition in an adult and elderly population


Health Literacy and Preventive Behaviors Modify the Association between Pre-Existing Health Conditions and Suspected COVID-19 Symptoms: A Multi-Institutional Survey

November 19, 2020 (PubMed)

People with pre-existing health conditions (PEHC) are vulnerable to viral infection while health literacy (HL) and preventive behaviors (PB) have been shown to benefit people during the COVID-19 pandemic. The aim of this study was to examine the association between PEHC and suspected COVID-19 symptoms (S-COVID-19-S), and to investigate the modification effect of HL and PB. A cross-sectional study was conducted on 8291 participants visiting outpatient departments at 18 hospitals and health centers across Vietnam from 14 February to 31 May 2020. Higher HL and adherence to mask wearing can protect people from having S-COVID-19-S, especially in those with PEHC.

Access Health Literacy and Preventive Behaviors Modify the Association between Pre-Existing Health Conditions and Suspected COVID-19 Symptoms: A Multi-Institutional Survey


Health Literacy Within a Diverse Community-Based Cohort: The Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis

November 18, 2020 (PubMed)

Health literacy has yet to be described in a non-clinical, racially diverse, community-based cohort. Four questions assessing health literacy were asked during annual phone encounters with Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis (MESA) participants between 2016 and 2018 (n = 3629). We used prevalence ratios (PRs) with 95% confidence intervals (CIs) to characterize how demographic and acculturation factors related to limited health literacy.

Limited health literacy was prevalent in 15.4% of the sample. Participants who were older, female, lower-income, or less acculturated were at greater risk for having limited health literacy. Chinese, Hispanic, and Black participants were more likely than White participants to have limited health literacy. Patterns were similar when stratified by race/ethnicity.

Access Health Literacy Within a Diverse Community-Based Cohort: The Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis


Determinants of Health Literacy and Its Associations With Health-Related Behaviors, Depression Among the Older People With and Without Suspected COVID-19 Symptoms: A Multi-Institutional Study

November 16, 2020 (PubMed)

A cross-sectional study was conducted at outpatient departments of nine hospitals and health centers 14 February-2 March 2020. Self-administered questionnaires were used to assess patient characteristics, health literacy, clinical information, health-related behaviors, and depression. A sample of 928 participants aged 60-85 years were analyzed. The older people with higher health literacy were less likely to have depression and had healthier behaviors in the group with S-COVD-19-S. Potential health literacy interventions are suggested to promote healthy behaviors and improve mental health outcomes to lessen the pandemic’s damage in this age group.

Access Determinants of Health Literacy and Its Associations With Health-Related Behaviors, Depression Among the Older People With and Without Suspected COVID-19 Symptoms: A Multi-Institutional Study


Impact of health literacy on shared decision making for prostate‐specific antigen screening in the United State

November 9, 2020 (American Cancer Society)

Current guidelines endorse shared decision making (SDM) for prostate‐specific antigen (PSA) screening. The relationship between a patient’s health literacy (HL) and SDM remains unclear. In the current study, the authors sought to identify the impact of HL on the rates of PSA screening and on the relationship between HL and SDM following the 2012 US Preventive Services Task Force recommendations against PSA screening.

Access Impact of health literacy on shared decision making for prostate‐specific antigen screening in the United State


Measurement properties of self-report instruments to assess health literacy in older adults: a systematic review

November 9, 2020 (PubMed)

High health literacy (HL) is important to optimise health outcomes, particularly for older people (who are substantial consumers of health services) and their adult caregivers. The aim of this systematic review was to evaluate measurement properties of HL instruments tested with these population groups. From 4261 unique papers located, 11 met inclusion criteria; six reported measurement properties of three HL self-report tools administered to older people (HLQ, eHEALS, and HeLMS) so are reported in this review, none involved caregiver samples. The HLQ and HeLMS were rated “moderate,” and eHEALS “low” for tool development. The HLQ, examined in four included studies, had the highest ratings and quality of evidence across the three measurement properties investigated in included papers.

Access Measurement properties of self-report instruments to assess health literacy in older adults: a systematic review


Improving health literacy: Lessons from clinical ethics

November 6, 2020 (Baylor College of Medicine)

“If you were in my position, what would you do?”

I still remember the first time I witnessed a patient ask this question. I was working with a physician at a local primary care clinic. We had given the patient a new diagnosis of a heart condition, and followed the diagnosis with a series of options for medications, referrals, imaging, and further diagnostics.

As we moved on to the next individual waiting to be seen at the clinic, my mind still lingered in the previous patient’s room. Had we performed our duty in explaining the diagnosis and giving the patient the tools he needed to make the best health decisions for himself?

For me, this experience was only the first of many to follow that highlighted the importance of promoting health literacy… More than 80 million people in the U.S. general population demonstrate low health literacy. To these individuals, new medical diagnoses and treatments represent new languages that must be learned – terminology, regimens, statistics, and specialists.

Access Improving health literacy: Lessons from clinical ethics


Cardiovascular Diseases Health Literacy among Patients, Health Professionals, and Community-Based Stakeholders in a Predominantly Medically Underserved Rural Environment

October, 2020 (PubMed)

The central Appalachian region of the United States is disproportionately burdened with cardiovascular disease (CVD); however, the level of literacy about CVD among residents has not been well studied. This study aimed to examine the prevalence and factors of CVD health literacy (HL) among a sample of patients/caregivers, providers/professionals, and community stakeholders.

Of the total respondents (N = 82), <50% correctly answered all 5 CVD HL questions. Multiple logistic regression analyses showed that compared with respondents with advanced college degrees, those with a college degree or less were more likely to have low HL for “typical symptom of CVD,” “physical exercise and CVD,” “blood pressure and CVD,” and “stress and CVD.” In addition, compared with respondents younger than 50 years, those 50 years and older were 3.79 times more likely to have low HL for “physical exercise and CVD.”

These results suggest the incorporation of CVD HL into CVD care and that educational attainments should be part of CVD policies and programs in the region.

Access Cardiovascular Diseases Health Literacy among Patients, Health Professionals, and Community-Based Stakeholders in a Predominantly Medically Underserved Rural Environment


Research brief: Improving Health Literacy Could Prevent Nearly 1 Million Hospital Visits and Save of $25 Billion a Year

October 26, 2020 (Pew)

Findings from new UnitedHealth Group research illustrate the importance of increasing health literacy as a key component in driving better health outcomes and improving health care affordability. Seniors — who use more health care services, have more chronic conditions, and take more medications compared to other age groups — benefit from increased health literacy levels because it helps them make informed decisions and enhances their health care experience.

Access Health Literacy Key to Better Health Outcomes


Review of Organizational Health Literacy Practice at Health Care Centers: Outcomes, Barriers and Facilitators

October 16, 2020 (PubMed)

In this study, a systematic review of the literature was conducted to understand the evidence for the effectiveness of OHL and its health outcome, and the facilitators and barriers that influence the implementation of OHL. Evidence on the effectiveness of HL tools provides best practices and recommendations to enhance OHL capacities. Results indicated that shifting to a comprehensive OHL would likely be a complex process because HL is not usually integrated into the healthcare organization’s vision and strategic planning. Further development of OHL requires radical, simultaneous, and multiple changes.

Access Review of Organizational Health Literacy Practice at Health Care Centers: Outcomes, Barriers and Facilitators


ODPHP’s Health Literacy Custom List

October, 2020 (HealthyPeople2030)

Build a custom list of Healthy People 2030 objectives to use in your work. This custom list is publicly available to anyone with the link. If you add or remove an objective from the list, we’ll generate a new link.

Access ODPHP’s Health Literacy Custom List


How Health Literate Are You? Put your knowledge to the test with our latest quiz

October 14, 2020 (DHHS)

Scholars and fellows across Pew’s three biomedical research programs are working to tackle some of the biggest challenges in human health by bolstering scientific knowledge. They’re focusing on issues that affect all Americans—from infectious diseases and cancer to gut health and beyond. Take this quiz to test your health literacy skills and learn more about scientists’ promising research.

Access How Health Literate Are You? Put your knowledge to the test with our latest quiz


Organizational Health Literacy More Essential than Ever for Preventing and Managing Chronic Disease

October 14, 2020 (DHHS)

When healthcare consumers are unable find, understand, and use information to inform decisions about their care, the consequences can be dire. Because many healthcare interactions are happening remotely due to the COVID-19 pandemic, there is even greater risk for avoidable adverse outcomes due to misunderstanding.

Access Organizational Health Literacy More Essential than Ever for Preventing and Managing Chronic Disease


2020 Federal Plain Language Report Card

October 13, 2020 (CenterForPlainLanguage)

A decade ago, Congress passed the Plain Writing Act to ensure that people can understand the information they receive from federal agencies. Since 2012, the Center for Plain Language has issued a yearly report card evaluating how well agencies follow this law.

This year we evaluated 20 Executive Branch agencies, including all 15 cabinet-level departments.  Agencies earned grades between A and F for both organizational compliance, covering the staffing, training, and annual reporting required by law, and writing, focusing on how easy it is to find, understand, and use information the public needs. For this year’s writing grade, we looked at two online pages from each agency.

Access 2020 Federal Plain Language Report Card


Center for Health Literacy Celebrates Health Literacy Month

October 13, 2020 (CenterForHealthLiteracy)

The UAMS Center for Health Literacy celebrates health literacy month with the Plain Pledge. The #PlainPledge is a social media campaign designed to engage health care professionals and students to pledge to use words that are easy to understand the first time someone hears or reads them. To take the pledge all you have to do is write a health-related word that you pledged to stop using in a word buster and take a selfie with it, and then share it on social media. A toolkit is available on our website.

With nearly 1 billion health-related Google searches each day, it is safe to say that many people use the internet to find health information. Unfortunately, due to the amount of misinformation on the internet some people don’t have the information they need to make appropriate health decisions for themselves. This is of significant importance given the current public health crisis with nearly 7 in 10 adults saying that searched for COVID-related information at the beginning of the pandemic. To address this need, we have created a new campaign with tips on finding health information online. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, or Instagram to learn more and share with your staff and the people you serve.

Access Center for Health Literacy


Happy 10th Anniversary Plain Writing Act (Video)

October 12, 2020 (CenterForPlainLanguage)

The Plain Writing Act is turning 10 years old on October 13, 2020. The Act gave U.S. federal employees the legal oomph to turn the stereotype that government writing is overly complicated, stilted, and obtuse on its head. No longer was plain language just a good idea that could easily be tossed aside for lack of time or tacked on the end of a project as if it were synonymous with proofreading. Plain language was the law. Government now had the responsibility to ensure a reader could find, understand, and use the information it provided.

Access Happy 10th Anniversary Plain Writing Act


Level of Health Literacy Among Patients With Thrombotic Thrombocytopenic Purpura

October 8, 2020 (HematologyAdvisor)

A team of investigators evaluated knowledge gaps among patients with thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura (TTP) in remission and found a range of levels of understanding of the condition. Findings were published in Hemasphere, a journal powered by the European Hematology Association.

Access Level of Health Literacy Among Patients With Thrombotic Thrombocytopenic Purpura


Why Health – and Pancreatic Cancer – Literacy Matter

October 8, 2020 (PancreaticCancerActionNewtwork)

Patient navigators may be a valuable resource and are available at many hospitals and cancer centers across the country. These healthcare professionals can provide one-on-one guidance for patients as they face medical, legal or financial challenges, including helping you understand treatment options. Ask your healthcare team for patient navigators available to you.

Access Why Health – and Pancreatic Cancer – Literacy Matter


Will the Effect of New Federal Breast Density Legislation Be Diminished by Currently Available Online Patient Educational Materials?

October, 2020 (PubMed)

To evaluate readability of commonly accessed online patient educational materials (OPEM) on breast density in setting of recently passed federal breast density legislation. Fouty-one websites met inclusion criteria representing patient-directed OPEM on breast density. Readability of currently available OPEM on breast density may be written at a level too difficult for the general public to comprehend, which may represent a barrier to educational goals of newly passed federal breast density legislation.

Access Will the Effect of New Federal Breast Density Legislation Be Diminished by Currently Available Online Patient Educational Materials?


Instrumental and affective communication with patients with limited health literacy in the palliative phase of cancer or COPD

October 7, 2020 (PubMed)

Patients have a ‘need to know’ (instrumental need) and a ‘need to feel known’ (affective need). During consultations with patients with limited health literacy (LHL) in the palliative phase of their disease, both the instrumental and the affective communication skills of healthcare providers are important. The study aims to explore instrumental and affective communication between care providers and LHL patients in the palliative phase of COPD or cancer.

Access Instrumental and affective communication with patients with limited health literacy in the palliative phase of cancer or COPD


4 Main Barriers Diminishing Patient Activation Efforts

October 2, 2020 (PatientEngagement)

Driving meaningful patient-provider communication and addressing patient social determinants of health needs are key to patient activation. As the medical field pushes value-based care efforts, the concept of patient activation has become more critical. After all, it’s an activated patient who is able to fend off or manage illness in between clinic visits.

Access 4 Main Barriers Diminishing Patient Activation Efforts


October is National Health Literacy Month!

October, 2020 (Health Literacy Month 2020)

Health Literacy Month is a time for organizations and individuals to promote the importance of understandable health information. This annual, worldwide, awareness-raising event has been going strong ever since Helen Osborne founded it in 1999. Learn more about the importance of making health information easy to understand and making the health care system easier to navigate by going to Health Literacy Month 2020.


Parental education, health literacy and children’s adult body height

Jun-Sep, 2020 (PubMed)

The objective of this study was to analyse the associations between parents’ education, their functional literacy and their children’s adult body height. The study used data for 39,240 individuals from the 2016 wave of the nationally representative Life in Transition Survey (LITS) conducted in 34 countries in Southern and Eastern Europe, the Middle East and Central Asia. Using linear and Poisson models, regression adjustment treatment estimators and multilevel mixed-effects linear regressions, the study analysed the links between mother’s and father’s educational attainment, parental functional literacy, measured by the number of books in the childhood home, and children’s adult height. The results demonstrated that mother’s educational attainment and parental functional literacy have independent associations with children’s adult body height. Sufficient literacy skills of the parent may have a positive effect on children’s growth even if parental education is low. The study also provides evidence of a widening of the height gap for men born in the period just before and after systemic transition in post-socialist societies, which may suggest an increase in social differences in early living standards.

Access Parental education, health literacy and children’s adult body height


The paradox of the link between health literacy and health promotion: the case of COVID-19

Jun-Sep, 2020 (PubMed)

COVID-19 brought out the critical issues of public health messages and the relationship between health literacy, health promotion, and public health. The aim is to analyse these concepts to provide a framework in which mutual influences are ontologically analysed… There was a massive presence of COVID-19 misinformation, particularly on social media in terms of, among others, treatments, the utility of wearing mask, COVID-19 cases by age group, conspiracy theories, all added more confusion and uncertainty to the public. Public health must protect the public from misinfromation. While in practice actions have been put in place to improve patients’ compliance with respect to health promotion it is unclear the ontological relationship between health promotion and health literacy within the Public Health context.

Access The paradox of the link between health literacy and health promotion: the case of COVID-19


Improving mental health literacy in adolescents: systematic review of supporting intervention studies

September, 2020 (PubMed)

The aim of this systematic review was to explore the effect of supporting interventions on improving MHL in adolescents. Supporting interventions for improving MHL in adolescents could be categorised into school-based and community-based. Both types used an education stand-alone strategy or an education plus contact-based group in their programmes. To provide knowledge of mental illness to adolescents, teaching methods should be interactive and use various media such as group discussion, videos and movies. School-based and community-based interventions were likely to improve MHL among adolescents. However, further research with objective tool measures is needed to confirm the findings.

Access Improving mental health literacy in adolescents: systematic review of supporting intervention studies


Health literacy and COVID-19

September, 2020 (PubMed)

In early 2020, the world experienced an unprecedented health crisis. When the pandemic of coronavirus was declared by the World Health Organization, it brought with it sudden and dramatic changes to everyday life. In the UK, the key message from the Government was to ‘Stay at home, protect the NHS, save lives’, sending out a clear warning that failing to stay at home would put other lives and the ability of the NHS to cope at risk. This editorial discusses COVID-19, how society responded and the vital role that health literacy plays in saving lives during a global health emergency.

Access Health literacy and COVID-19


An app for supporting older people receiving home care – usage, aspects of health and health literacy: a quasi-experimental study

September, 2020 (PubMed)

During the last decade, there has been an increase in studies describing use of mHealth, using smartphones with apps, in the healthcare system by a variety of populations. Despite this, few interventions including apps are targeting older people receiving home care. The current study is part of a larger project for identifying and managing health concerns via an app by using real-time data. The aim of the study was to describe older people’s usage of an app and to evaluate the impact of usage on aspects of health and health literacy over time. The results indicate that the usage of Interaktor can support older people by significantly improving their communicative and critical health literacy. Aspects of health were not shown to be affected by the usage of the app.

Access An app for supporting older people receiving home care – usage, aspects of health and health literacy: a quasi-experimental study


Association Between Public Knowledge About COVID-19, Trust in Information Sources, and Adherence to Social Distancing:Cross-Sectional Survey

July-September, 2020 (JMIR)

The aim of this study was to investigate associations between public knowledge about COVID-19, adherence tosocial distancing, and public trust in government information sources (eg, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention),private sources (eg, FOX and CNN), and social networks (eg, Facebook and Twitter) to inform future policies related to criticalinformation distribution. Government information sources were the most trusted among the public. However, we observed trends in the datathat suggested variations in trust by age and gender. White and older populations generally expressed higher trust in governmentsources, while non-White and younger populations expressed higher trust in private sources (eg, CNN) and social networks (eg,Twitter). Trust in government sources was positively associated with accurate knowledge about COVID-19 and adherence tosocial distancing. However, trust in private sources (eg, FOX and CNN) was negatively associated with knowledge aboutCOVID-19. Similarly, trust in social networks (eg, Facebook and Twitter) was negatively associated with both knowledge andadherence to social distancing.

Access Association Between Public Knowledge About COVID-19, Trust in Information Sources, and Adherence to Social Distancing:Cross-Sectional Survey


Picture of a pandemic: visual aids in the COVID-19 crisis

September, 2020 (OxfordAcademic)

As a global crisis, COVID-19 has underscored the challenge of disseminating evidence-based public health recommendations amidst a rapidly evolving, often uncensored information ecosystem—one fueled in part by an unprecedented degree of connected afforded through social media. In this piece, we explore an underdiscussed intersection between the visual arts and public health, focusing on the use of validated infographics and other forms of visual communication to rapidly disseminate accurate public health information during the COVID-19 pandemic. We illustrate our arguments through our own experience in creating a validated infographic for patients, now disseminated through social media and other outlets across the world in nearly 20 translations. Visual communication offers a creative and practical medium to bridge critical health literacy gaps, empower diverse patient communities through evidence-based information and facilitate public health advocacy during this pandemic and the ‘new normal’ that lies ahead.

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The role of health literacy, depression, disease knowledge, and self-efficacy in self-care among adults with heart failure: An updated model

November-December 2020 (ScienceDirect)

Patients with inadequate health literacy and heart failure face high healthcare costs, more hospitalizations, and greater mortality. To address these negative consequences, patients need to improve heart failure self-care. Multiple factors may influence self-care, but the exact model by which they do so is not fully understood.

Access The role of health literacy, depression, disease knowledge, and self-efficacy in self-care among adults with heart failure: An updated model


Answers to Coronavirus Questions

2020 (Georgia State University)

This online booklet provides answers to frequently asked Coronavirus questions in an easy-to-read format.

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CORONAVIRUS ADULT LITERACY RESOURCES

2020 (Georgia State University)

Here is a library of many high interest/low literacy Coronavirus materials.  We have included materials up to a 9th-grade reading level.

The directory is categorized into easier to read materials and harder to read materials.  We analyzed the materials using VisibleThread Readability software.

Access CORONAVIRUS ADULT LITERACY RESOURCES


History of Health Literacy Definitions

2020 (ODPHP)

In developing Healthy People 2030, the Secretary’s Advisory Committee on National Health Promotion and Disease Prevention Objectives for 2030 proposed expanding Healthy People’s view on health literacy.

Access History of Health Literacy Definitions


Combating Xenophobia in the Covid-19 Pandemic: The Importance of Health Literacy

2020 (Inquiries Journal)

The emergence of the novel coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2, has caused a global pandemic of the coronavirus disease, COVID-19. Delaying the spread of the virus quickly gained international prioritization; however, the growing cases of xenophobia –– the dislike, prejudice, or fear of people from other countries (Oxford Learner’s Dictionaries, n.d.) –– did not. The prevalence of the virus has been coupled with increased reports of xenophobia in the United States, targeting Asian and Asian-American communities due to the virus’ reported origins in Wuhan, .

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Assessment of Disparities in COVID-19 Testing and Infection Across Language Groups in Seattle, Washington

September 24, 2020 (JAMA)

Clinicians from New York, New York, have raised the alarm that the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has taken a disproportionate toll on their local immigrant communities. Limited English language proficiency (LEP) or low health literacy can present challenges to effective communication about disease transmission. Worries about stigma, deportation, or livelihood may supersede those of a health threat, however serious. It remains unclear whether these disparities have resulted in lower comparative access to testing for severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), a patient-initiated option in all but congregant settings, or in higher rates of infection among immigrants. To clarify this issue, we evaluated the proportion of patients who completed testing and the proportion of positive cases using language as a surrogate for immigrant status.

Access Assessment of Disparities in COVID-19 Testing and Infection Across Language Groups in Seattle, Washington


COVID-19 and health literacy: the yell of a silent epidemic amidst the pandemic

September 24, 2020 (NIH)

The emergence of a new form of Coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) exposed weaknesses of health services in several countries, with overcrowding of hospitals, and lack of supplies and professionals in combating the disease, which sometimes contributed to the installation of social, political, and economic chaos. Health literacy is a broad and important topic in public health but still globally underestimated, thus considered a silent epidemic. The exponential increase in the number of confirmed cases shows the world population’s inadequacy and difficulty in understanding basic prevention guidelines. The COVID-19 pandemic warns of gaps in the health literacy levels of the world population and exposes the need for a comprehensive mapping to identify the overall health literacy status in more countries.

Access COVID-19 and health literacy: the yell of a silent epidemic amidst the pandemic


4 Pitfalls to Avoid in Nurse Communication

September 24, 2020 (PatientEngagement)

Strong nurse communication skills is arguably one of the most important factors leading to a good patient experience. After all, nurses spend more time with patients than many other clinicians, and the way they interact with the patient can make a big difference in how a patient perceives her medical care.

Access 4 Pitfalls to Avoid in Nurse Communication


Good Patient-Provider Relationship Proves to Boost Outcomes

September 16, 2020 (Patient Engagement)

A good patient-provider relationship has long been understood as the foundation of a high patient satisfaction score, but new evidence suggests these relationships can have greater impacts. A study in the Annals of Family Medicine has found that a better patient-provider relationship can mean better patient health outcomes.

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Measurements of Older Adults’ Physical Competence under the Concept of Physical Literacy: A Scoping Review

September 16, 2020 (PubMed)

In this scoping review, we reflected on previous empirical studies regarding the measurements of physical competence among older adults holistically and systematically to identify and analyze gaps in the topic of “physical literacy” among older adults as a precursor to a systematic review.

Through our review, we found that 73% of the mean age of the participants comprised older baby boomers who were from 65-74 years old as aging continues. Therefore, more effort should be made in developing physical literacy for older adults with the goal of health promotion. Our results showed that most studies adopted both self-reported and objective measures, in which objective measures were widely embraced by scholars in the measurement, while self-reported measures were encouraged to be included in the assessment as well.

Access Measurements of Older Adults’ Physical Competence under the Concept of Physical Literacy: A Scoping Review


Engaging Women with Limited Health Literacy in Mammography Decision-Making: Perspectives of Patients and Primary Care Providers

September 15, 2020 (PubMed)

Limited health literacy is a driver of cancer disparities and associated with less participation in medical decisions. Mammography screening decisions are an exemplar of where health literacy may impact decision-making and outcomes.

Women ages 40-54 with limited health literacy and no history of breast cancer or mammogram in the prior 9 months were approached before a primary care visit at a Boston academic, safety-net hospital. PCPs practicing at this site were eligible for PCP interviews.

Both patients and PCPs perceived a need for tools to relay technical and process knowledge about mammography prior to clinical encounters to address the scope of information that patients with limited health literacy desired.

Access Engaging Women with Limited Health Literacy in Mammography Decision-Making: Perspectives of Patients and Primary Care Providers


Simple contents and good readability: Improving health literacy for LEP populations

September, 2020 (ScienceDirect)

Highlights:

    •Readability tests can be a useful tool for revising health information to increase readability.•Online health information should be simplified and tailored to the needs of those with LEP.•Basic health information should be written in simple English before being translated into other languages.

Access Simple contents and good readability: Improving health literacy for LEP populations


4 tips to enhance patient communication as a medical student

August 25, 2020 (AMA)

After months off the wards due to safety precautions put in place to curb potential exposure during the COVID-19 pandemic, many medical students are returning to patient-facing roles. While communication skills are an emphasis throughout your medical training, they take on a new meaning—and are vitally important—once you begin interacting with patients during clinical rotations.

Access 4 tips to enhance patient communication as a medical student


August 24, 2020 (The New York Times)

Older people are vulnerable to misinformation online even under normal circumstances. But the coronavirus has made the problem especially urgent. Older people are more susceptible to the virus, making discerning reliable health information important now.

Access Recognize Misinformation on the Internet


Leveraging media and health communication strategies to overcome the COVID-19 infodemic

August 22, 2020 (Springer)

The COVID-19 pandemic has caused a complementary infodemic, whereby various outlets and digital media portals shared false information and unsourced recommendations on health. In addition, journals and authors published a mass of academic articles at a speed that suggests a non-existent or a non-rigorous peer review process. Such lapses can promote false information and adoption of health policies based on misleading data. Reliable information is vital for designing and implementing preventive measures and promoting health awareness in the fight against COVID-19. In the age of social media, information travels wide and fast, emphasizing a need for accurate data to be corroborated swiftly and for preventing misleading information from wide dissemination. Here, we discuss the implications of the COVID-19 infodemic and explore practical ways to leverage health communication strategies to overcome it. We propose the “Infodemic Response Checklist” as a comprehensive tool to overcome the challenges posed by the current and any future infodemics.

Access Leveraging media and health communication strategies to overcome the COVID-19 infodemic


The key to COVID-19 communication? Keep it simple

August 21, 2020 (NC Health News)

COVID-19 is complicated, and the world’s understanding of the virus has evolved over the last few months. We’ve gathered input from experts on how leaders can communicate clearly and why it’s so important to do so.

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The key to COVID-19 communication? Keep it simple

August 21, 2020 (NC Health News)

COVID-19 is complicated, and the world’s understanding of the virus has evolved over the last few months. We’ve gathered input from experts on how leaders can communicate clearly and why it’s so important to do so.

Access The key to COVID-19 communication? Keep it simple


Coronavirus websites usually go over people’s heads, study finds

August 20, 2020 (CNN)

Excuse me? What’s that mean?

When it comes to educating the world about coronavirus, public health organizations around the world uniformly exceed recommended reading levels, researchers reported Tuesday.
That includes guidance from the World Health Organization and the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
While most public health guidelines are supposed to be written at between sixth- and eighth-grade reading levels, many websites for the public aim higher.

Access Coronavirus websites usually go over people’s heads, study finds


Comparison of Readability of Official Public Health Information About COVID-19 on Websites of International Agencies and the Governments of 15 Countries

August 18, 2020 (RheumatologyAdvisor)

Containment strategies for the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic have required broad public compliance, yet complex, contradictory, and false information proliferates. The American Medical Association (AMA), National Institutes of Health (NIH), and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommend that medical information for the public be written at no higher than an eighth-grade reading level. We evaluated the readability of online information about COVID-19 provided by government and public health agencies and departments.

Access Comparison of Readability of Official Public Health Information About COVID-19 on Websites of International Agencies and the Governments of 15 Countries


August 18, 2020 (RheumatologyAdvisor)

Health literacy, or understanding the medical narrative, is a problem for a majority of Americans. When compounded with numeric literacy, understanding numbers, ratios and rates — the daily litany that has accompanied COVID-19 news conferences — it’s estimated that 8 out of 10 Americans just don’t get it.

Access Every Picture Tells a Story: Health Literacy and COVID-19


Challenges in Navigating the Health Care System: Development of an Instrument Measuring Navigation Health Literacy

August 8, 2020 (PubMed)

Due to their rapid expansion and complexity, it is increasingly difficult for patients to orient themselves in health care systems. Therefore, patients require a high degree of health literacy, or more precisely, navigation health literacy (HL-NAV). The actual extent of HL-NAV of patients and citizens is still largely unknown due to the lack of adequate measurement instruments. Thus, within the new international Health Literacy Population Survey 2019 (HLS19), one aim was to develop a suitable instrument for measuring HL-NAV in the HLS19 the HL-NAV-HLS19. TThe instrument will be used for the first time in the HLS19 survey and will provide first data on HL-NAV in general populations for the countries participating in HLS19. It is suited for cross-country comparisons and monitoring, as well as for intervention development. However, the instrument should be translated into and validated in further languages and countries for population samples.

Access Challenges in Navigating the Health Care System: Development of an Instrument Measuring Navigation Health Literacy


Educational Tools for Improving Health Literacy Among Patients With Rheumatoid Arthritis

August 7, 2020 (ACSH)

Self-administration of an educational video and booklet was associated with improved health literacy and decreased decisional conflict among patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA), according to findings reported in Arthritis Care & Research.

Access Educational Tools for Improving Health Literacy Among Patients With Rheumatoid Arthritis


Young Adults: Addressing the Health Needs of a Vulnerable Population

August 1, 2020 (AJMed)

Young adults ages 18-24 comprise 9% of the population of the United States and are a vulnerable group. They routinely disengage from the health care system starting in mid-adolescence and by the ages of 18-26, 15% do not have a usual source of care, and 40% have not seen a primary care physician in the previous year. As a result, 4.5 million young adults in this age group are currently without a usual source of care in the United States. We propose a framework to optimize the care of this age group that requires collaborative efforts among providers in combined internal medicine-pediatrics, family medicine, internal medicine, obstetrics-gynecology, and pediatric providers to maximize their health outcomes and reduce their costs to the health care system.

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Low health literacy tied to worse heart failure outcomes

July 29, 2020 (Medical Xpress)

Poor health literacy is associated with worse heart failure outcomes, according to a review published in the June issue of JACC: Heart Failure…Matteo Fabbri, M.D., from the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, and colleagues conducted a systematic literature review to evaluate associations between health literacy and health-related outcomes in patients with heart failure.

Access Low health literacy tied to worse heart failure outcomes


Health Equity Demands Health Literacy: Ethics in the Pediatric Emergency Department

July, 2020 (PubMed)

Health literacy has been shown to be of primary importance when determining a patient’s ability to achieve optimal health. As physicians, we often fail to recognize the enormous obstacles facing our patients. In the pediatric emergency department (PED), communication is complicated. Physicians must be able to effectively relay information to the patient’s caregiver while still not forgetting to provide developmentally appropriate instructions to the child. As providers, we need to always be questioning as to whether we properly conveyed the information to our patients. Teaching which results in good understanding is the ultimate goal when treating and releasing our patients in the pediatric emergency department. Matching the method of delivery of information and education to the family’s health literacy will help the care team deliver effective information so that it is applied at home hopefully preventing a rapid revisit.

Access Health Equity Demands Health Literacy: Ethics in the Pediatric Emergency Department


Health Literacy of Osteoporosis Risks among Caregivers Serving in Disability Care Facilities

July 7, 2020 (PubMed)

This study aims to present a general profile of health literacy related to osteoporosis risks and identify its associated factors among disability institutional caregivers. A cross-sectional study with a structured questionnaire was used to collect information on 465 caregivers from seven disability care institutions regarding their awareness of the health literacy related to osteoporosis risks. This study highlights risk factors related to a lower level of osteoporosis healthy literacy such as older age, less education, no experience of bone density test, and poor physical fitness that highlight the need to raise further awareness in order to improve caregivers’ bone health.

Access Health Literacy of Osteoporosis Risks among Caregivers Serving in Disability Care Facilities


Systematic review of the tools of oral and dental health literacy: assessment of conceptual dimensions and psychometric properties

July 3, 2020 (PubMed)

This article aims to provide a description of conceptual dimensions and psychometric properties of the tools of oral and dental health literacy. The findings of this study showed that some aspects of oral and dental health literacy are being ignored in the existing tools. Therefore, the authors of present study emphasize on the necessity to design and develop a comprehensive tool and take into account two characteristics of simplicity and briefness for international use.

Access Systematic review of the tools of oral and dental health literacy: assessment of conceptual dimensions and psychometric properties


Effects of health literacy interventions on health-related outcomes in socioeconomically disadvantaged adults living in the community: a systematic review

July, 2020 (PubMed)

The objectives of this review were: i) to identify and synthesize the best available evidence on the effectiveness on health-related outcomes of health literacy interventions for enabling socioeconomically disadvantaged people living in the community to access, understand, appraise and apply health information; and ii) to identify components of health literacy interventions associated with improved health-related outcomes.

Access Effects of health literacy interventions on health-related outcomes in socioeconomically disadvantaged adults living in the community: a systematic review


Parental health literacy and health knowledge, behaviours and outcomes in children: a cross-sectional survey

July 13, 2020 (PubMed)

Health literacy (HL) is closely associated with leading health indicators such as engaging in healthy behaviours and experiencing a healthy social environment. Parents represent a critical subgroup among the adult population since they are not only responsible for their own health but also for the health of their children. In preparation of an implementation study, a cross-sectional survey was conducted in 28 elementary and secondary schools in Germany. High parental HL was associated with positive health behaviours in children including healthier nutrition, regular tooth brushing and more physical activity.

The results confirm a relationship between low parental HL, SES and some child health behaviours likely to negatively impact their health and wellbeing including less healthy nutrition and less exercise. Strengthening the health knowledge and competencies of parents may contribute to improved child outcomes particularly in the areas of nutrition, exercise and dental health.

Access Parental health literacy and health knowledge, behaviours and outcomes in children: a cross-sectional survey


Special Supplement: Health Literacy and Adult Basic Education

July, 2020 (Health Literacy Research and Practice)

This supplement of HLRP: Health Literacy Research and Practice seeks to affirm the relevance of adult basic education (ABE) to advancements in the health literacy field. The worlds of health literacy and ABE have much in common, as both are preoccupied with promoting self-efficacy. Yet, they have largely remained unconnected in their research, policy, and practice. This supplement aims to highlight ways in which the health literacy and ABE fields have intersected and influenced each other to the benefit of adult populations with inadequate literacy skills, including those with limited print literacy and numeracy skills, and those with limited English proficiency.

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Learners’ experience and perceived impact of a health literacy program in adult basic education: a qualitative study

June 30, 2020 (PubMed)

Objectives and importance of the study: Adult literacy programs aim to empower learners to participate more effectively in everyday life. This includes programs with health content embedded in curricula to target health literacy. Adult learners who attend these programs represent a heterogeneous population, but include a high proportion of hard-to-reach or socially disadvantaged groups in terms of age, ethnicity, educational background, language and prevalence of learning disabilities. In 2014, we conducted a cluster-randomised controlled trial of a health literacy program in adult basic education classes across New South Wales, Australia. This paper reports findings from a qualitative study exploring learners’ experience of the course and its perceived impact on their lives, as well as their understanding and confidence about health.

Access Learners’ experience and perceived impact of a health literacy program in adult basic education: a qualitative study


Promoting Convergence Between Health Literacy and Health Communication

June, 2020 (PubMed)

Health communication and health literacy are complementary areas of study and application. However, the important connections between the work conducted in these two related areas of inquiry do not appear to have always been well understood, nor appreciated, leading to limited integration and coordination between health communication and health literacy inquiry. While there are many scholars who study both health communication and health literacy, some researchers are not well-versed in both areas, and do not understand how they can contribute to one another. In this chapter, the authors examine the parallel development of these two interdependent areas of study, trace their inter-connections, and propose strategies to enhance collaboration and integration within health literacy as well as health communication research and applications.

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The Role and Impact of Health Literacy on Peer-to-Peer Health Communication

June, 2020 (PubMed)

The chapter first discusses the rise of peer-to-peer sharing of health information and accompanying health literacy concerns. Next, a series of case studies are presented that illustrate the potential role of health literacy in three different online settings: clinical trial patient support networks, social media channels, and personal blogs. The chapter then explores common themes highlighted in these examples and discusses the range of health literacy benefits and pitfalls that accompany the use of these channels for health information. Finally, the chapter explores existing individual-level and system-level health literacy initiatives for peer-to-peer health communication and suggests opportunities for future work in this area. Such efforts to address and improve health literacy can help individuals and communities successfully navigate online platforms where peer-to-peer health information is exchanged.

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Health Literacy: An Essential Element of Health Care Professionalism and Resilience

June 25, 2020 (PubMed)

This chapter examines the evolution of the concept of health literacy and its practical implications for health literacy interventions. The chapter, then, provides an updated overview of reported interventions and existing strengths and weaknesses. It concludes with recommendations on interventional research that provides practical and implementable solutions which can inform future policy, strategy, and priorities.

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The Intersections Between Social Determinants of Health, Health Literacy, and Health Disparities

June 25, 2020 (PubMed)

This chapter synthesizes what is known about the relationship between social disadvantage and measures of low health literacy (LHL), and reviews the research examining whether LHL is an explanatory factor connecting social disadvantage, health outcomes, and health disparities. Written from a U.S. perspective, the chapter then offers a novel conceptual framework that presents how the social determinants of health might interact with LHL to result in health disparities. The framework articulates relationships that reflect public health pathways and healthcare pathways, which include their related health literacies. In addition, the chapter highlights as an exemplar one important potential causal mechanism in the healthcare pathway by exploring the communication model in outpatient care, as communication has been very well-studied with respect to both health disparities and HL. The chapter then, provides two examples of HL interventions aligned with the conceptual framework, one of which addresses the health care literacy pathway, and the other addresses the public health literacy pathway.

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The Evolving Role of Health Literacy in Improving Oral Health

June 25, 2020 (PubMed)

This chapter examines the evolution of the concept of health literacy and its practical implications for health literacy interventions. The chapter, then, provides an updated overview of reported interventions and existing strengths and weaknesses. It concludes with recommendations on interventional research that provides practical and implementable solutions which can inform future policy, strategy, and priorities.

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Health Literacy and Pediatric Health

June 25, 2020 (PubMed)

This chapter will review the epidemiology of health literacy in parents, adolescents, and children, and how this compares to the general adult population. It will highlight unique considerations regarding health literacy and pediatric health. The chapter will then focus on the impact of health literacy and relevant health literacy-informed interventions on pediatric health. Finally, the chapter will discuss gaps in the literature and future directions.

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Advancing Health Literacy Interventions

June 25, 2020 (PubMed)

This chapter provides a review of the evolution of oral health literacy including its impact on oral health outcomes, the current status of oral health literacy initiatives and future research needs.  A major part of the chapter describes oral health literacy’s influence in the integration of dental and medical care. The chapter provides an extensive list of research needed to further our understanding of the impact of oral health literacy on health disparities and the health of the population.

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Improving Immunization and Health Literacy Through a Community-Based Approach

June 25, 2020 (PubMed)

This report illustrates the importance of capacity-building to advance immunization literacy through a community-based participatory research (CPBR) approach to decrease child health immunization disparities. The research project utilizes culturally-tailored immunization and technology literacy modalities for dissemination in targeted low-income neighborhoods. The results suggest successful outcomes are dependent upon contributions and engagement of community members in all project processes, ensuring community buy-in and cultural relevance. The latter approach is time-intensive due in part to the need to build broad-based community partnerships, which can result in a promising approach to foster broader population impact.

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Improving parent oral health literacy in Head Start programs

June, 2020 (PubMed)

We sought to determine whether an oral health literacy intervention aimed at parents of children attending Head Start programs improved oral health literacy and behaviors. Findings suggest that this intervention successfully improved oral health literacy for diverse parents of children at high risk for dental caries.

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Health Literacy’s Impact On Health Law & Policy

June, 2020 (PubMed)

Law and policy are an integral part of any health system, in the U.S. and abroad. This chapter discusses the trend towards incorporating health literacy or patient understanding requirements into the varied laws and policies that impact all parts of healthcare. After reading this chapter, healthcare providers, hospital executives, biomedical researchers, industry sponsors, and public health professionals will better understand the regulatory trend towards health literacy and how they can use these sources of authority to advocate for change in their respective fields.

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Reintegrate Empowerment and Health Literacy to Advance Public Health and Healthcare Delivery

June, 2020 (PubMed)

Empowerment has been described as a prerequisite for health and the ultimate goal of health literacy in both clinical practice and health promotion. Improving health literacy and empowerment is central to national and international public health and healthcare policies. Few studies have addressed both concepts. This chapter summarizes and interprets the significance of these fault lines for current and future research. Divergent clinical and health promotion perceptions of health empowerment, its expected outcomes, processes, interventions and measures are reviewed. The chapter reinforces recent calls for increased attention to empowerment in health literacy research and the reintegration of the critical health literacy concept to better reflect policy, achieve global public health goals, advance healthcare delivery, and foster multidisciplinary career opportunities for students, researchers, and practitioners.

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Programmatic Approaches to Increase the Health of Children and Senior Citizens Using Health Literacy Best Practices

June, 2020 (PubMed)

Effective communication is essential to improving individual health and wellbeing, especially for those with marginalized literacy levels. While there are many populations that benefit from effective communication, this report concentrates on child and senior populations. Three programs developed by the Institute for Healthcare Advancement (IHA) and partner agencies in the U.S. are explored as examples of practical techniques that can be included in programmatic initiatives. The authors also provide suggestions for sustainability. The discussed programs are intended to: reduce emergency department visits; prevent falls among senior citizens; and provide health education and outreach to isolated senior citizens in a Southern California (U.S.) community.
Access Programmatic Approaches to Increase the Health of Children and Senior Citizens Using Health Literacy Best Practices


Beyond the Bench and Bedside: Health Literacy Is Fundamental to Sustainable Health and Development

June, 2020 (PubMed)

Thirty years after the Ottawa Charter for Health Promotion, the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development – predicated on seventeen Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) – were unveiled to the global community. Health literacy is an essential precondition and indicator of achieving the SDGs. Efforts to define and describe health literacy within public health and medicine have identified that the skills and abilities of many populations are inadequate to navigate the demands and complexity of health and healthcare. The authors suggest health literacy must move beyond the bench and bedside in clinical practice to achieve the aspirations and objectives of the SDGs. This report synthesizes major developments in health literacy and draws from related disciplines to propose opportunities and future directions to improve health literacy across the lifespan.

Access Beyond the Bench and Bedside: Health Literacy Is Fundamental to Sustainable Health and Development


Integrated Measures of Health Literacy, Language Access, and Cultural Competency Would Improve Health Care Quality and Value

June, 2020 (PubMed)

Improving health care quality and value requires increased attention to patient and family-centeredness as well as care equity. Although health literacy, language access, and cultural competency have been perceived as separate constructs. each represents a dimension of patient and family-centeredness and care equity. Developing and using integrated measures of health literacy, language access, and cultural competency could provide a viable strategy to improve patient and family-centeredness and equity in health care. While there are challenges to the development and use of integrated measures, some responsive strategies include: using more patient, family and caregiver-reported information; utilizing patient demographic data from electronic health records; and incorporating the latter elements within measures of patient experience. Integrated quality measures also create opportunities for collaborative and interdisciplinary research, and for health care delivery innovation.

Access Integrated Measures of Health Literacy, Language Access, and Cultural Competency Would Improve Health Care Quality and Value


Health Literacy and Outcomes of a Community-Based Self-Help Intervention: A Case of Korean Americans With Type 2 Diabetes

May/June, 2020 (PubMed)

Higher literacy levels “can increase peoples’ ability to take action to manage their healthcare,” said Earnestine Willis, MD, MPH, a member of the Roundtable on Health literacy and a retired professor of pediatrics at the Medical College of Wisconsin in Milwaukee. Strategies to increase health literacy “can help promote trust between communities and providers,” she said.

Access Health Literacy and Outcomes of a Community-Based Self-Help Intervention: A Case of Korean Americans With Type 2 Diabetes


Lack of Health Literacy a Barrier to Grasping COVID-19

June 10, 2020 (MedPage Today)

Higher literacy levels “can increase peoples’ ability to take action to manage their healthcare,” said Earnestine Willis, MD, MPH, a member of the Roundtable on Health literacy and a retired professor of pediatrics at the Medical College of Wisconsin in Milwaukee. Strategies to increase health literacy “can help promote trust between communities and providers,” she said.

Access Lack of Health Literacy a Barrier to Grasping COVID-19


SDOH Affect Patient Health Literacy, Knowledge About COVID-19

June 25, 2020 (PatientEngagementHIT)

Patient health literacy and knowledge about the COVID-19 pandemic falls along sociodemographic lines, further evidence of the fact that the social determinants of health (SDOH) dictate an individual’s ability to be and stay healthy, according to new research from the Harvard Kennedy School.

More specifically, individual knowledge about COVID-19 and health behaviors were dependent upon individual race, sex, and age.

Black people, males, and individuals younger than age 55 were less likely to know how the novel coronavirus spreads and the key symptoms of the disease.

Additionally, individuals in those populations were less likely to engage in key healthy behaviors known to prevent COVID-19 spread, including regular handwashing and adherence to stay-at-home or better-at-home orders, the researchers found.

Access SDOH Affect Patient Health Literacy, Knowledge About COVID-19


COVID-19 Misinformation Turns Attention to Public Health Messaging

June 9, 2020 (PatientEngagementHIT)

CDC data showed that misinformation about disinfectants and COVID-19 spread to nearly one-third of adults. This outlines a need to target public health messaging.

Access COVID-19 Misinformation Turns Attention to Public Health Messaging


Health Literacy and Outcomes Among Patients With Heart Failure

June, 2020 (JACC)

[Journal Article] The purpose of this study was to determine if health literacy is associated with mortality, hospitalizations, or emergency department (ED) visits among patients living with heart failure (HF). Growing evidence suggests an association between health literacy and health-related outcomes in patients with HF.

Access Health Literacy and Outcomes Among Patients With Heart Failure


Lack of Health Literacy Linked to Poor Outcomes Among Patients With Heart Failure

May 28, 2020 (AJMC)

Heart failure is a complicated disease to manage, requiring coordination of several outcomes-related measurements: weight, blood pressure, glycemic index, and medication and diet adherence, as well as exercise and weight loss on occasion. Does patient knowledge of these measures—their health literacy—affect their health outcomes, and if so, to what extent?

Access Lack of Health Literacy Linked to Poor Outcomes Among Patients With Heart Failure


Heart failure patients with limited health literacy may have higher risk of death

May 25, 2020 (AAAS)

Patients with heart failure who experience low health literacy are at an increased risk of hospitalization and mortality. This finding has significant clinical and public health implications and suggests that assessing and intervening upon an individual’s understanding of their own health could improve heart failure outcomes, according to research published in JACC: Heart Failure.

Access Heart failure patients with limited health literacy may have higher risk of death


Systematic Review of Health Literacy in Childhood Cancer Patients, Survivors, and Their Caregivers

May, 2020 (PubMed)

This systematic review examined the literature regarding health literacy among pediatric cancer patients, survivors, and their caregivers. Specific aims were to identify and summarize measures used, levels of and demographic correlates of health literacy, effects of health literacy interventions, and associations between health literacy and health outcomes.

Very few studies assessed health literacy in pediatric oncology. As treatment for childhood cancer becomes increasingly complex, and patients and caregivers are expected to have adequate understanding of health information, health literacy is a critical construct that should not be overlooked.

Access Systematic Review of Health Literacy in Childhood Cancer Patients, Survivors, and Their Caregivers


Public Health Communication in Time of Crisis: Readability of On-Line COVID-19 Information

May, 2020 (PubMed)

The purpose of this study was to assess the readability of information on the Internet posted about coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) to determine how closely these materials are written to the recommended reading levels. The mean readability scores ranged between grade levels 6.2 and 17.8 (graduate school level). Four of the 5 measures (GFI, CLI, SMOG, FRE) found that readability exceeded the 10th grade reading level indicating that the text of these websites would be difficult for the average American to read.

Messages about COVID-19 must be readable at an “easy” level, and must contain clear guidelines for behavior. The degree to which individuals seek information in response to risk messages is positively related to the expectation that the information will resolve uncertainty. However, if the information is too complex to interpret and it fails to lead to disambiguation, this can contribute to feelings of panic.

Access Public Health Communication in Time of Crisis: Readability of On-Line COVID-19 Information


The impact of health literacy environment on patient stress: a systematic review

May 24, 2020 (PubMed)

The aim of this study was to assess the strength of the evidence on the relationship between health situations and patient stress, considered in the context of health professional perception, and determine what health situations act to influence patient stress. A systematic review of English articles using PubMed, PsycINFO, CINAHL and Embase databases was conducted. Overall, the findings of what patients find most stressful in Intensive Care Units can guide health care professionals practicing best practice care. However, the evidence on how patient stress is influenced by non-Intensive Care Unit health care settings is weak. Further research is needed to enhance current understanding of the interaction between patient stress and health care environments in both hospital and primary care settings.

Access The impact of health literacy environment on patient stress: a systematic review


The Association of Health Literacy Domains With Hospitalizations and Mortality

May 13, 2020 (AJMC)

[Journal Article] A total of 470 community-dwelling veterans underwent evaluations of health literacy, numeracy, and graph literacy with validated instruments in 2012 and were followed until 2018. At the end of follow-up, the associations with all-cause hospitalizations and mortality were determined with the Andersen-Gill model and Cox regression multivariate analysis, respectively.

There were no associations of health literacy, numeracy, or graph literacy with all-cause hospitalization or mortality after multivariate adjustment. In subgroup analysis, subjective numeracy was associated with hospitalizations in African Americans. Higher objective and subjective numeracy were associated with future hospitalizations only for those with a history of hospitalization. Higher graph literacy was associated with lower mortality in those with a history of hospitalization.

Access The Association of Health Literacy Domains With Hospitalizations and Mortality


Development and validation of a short and easy-to-use instrument for measuring health literacy: the Health Literacy Instrument for Adults (HELIA)

May 12, 2020 (PubMed)

Health literacy is the ability to access to, understand, evaluate and use of essential health information to make basic health decisions. This study aimed to develop and psychometrically evaluate an instrument for measuring health literacy among adults (the Health Literacy Instrument for Adults – HELIA).

Access Development and validation of a short and easy-to-use instrument for measuring health literacy: the Health Literacy Instrument for Adults (HELIA)

When you break down barriers to care, you build trust

May 11, 2020 (Nurse.com)

Barriers to care can have a huge impact on patients’ trust in their healthcare teams and on their recovery.

But nurses help eliminate barriers to care by, for instance, assisting a patient who speaks a different language or helping patients gain a better understanding of their treatment plan.

In doing so, nurses are preventing re-hospitalizations and improving health outcomes.

So, what does it take to break down barriers to care?

You can read the complete article When you break down barriers to care, you build trust.


Associations of eHealth Literacy with Obtaining Knowledge about Colorectal Cancer among Internet Users Accessing a Reputable Cancer Website: Internet-Based Survey Study

May 9, 2020 (PubMed)

Examining the associations of eHealth literacy (eHL) with obtaining health knowledge from websites would help to clarify the causal pathway between eHL and health knowledge. This study aimed to compare the results obtained from Internet users with high or low eHL in accessing a reputable cancer website to obtain colorectal cancer (CRC) knowledge. A total of 105 participants with high eHL and 103 participants with low eHL accessed a reputable CRC website managed by the National Cancer Center and responded to Internet-based surveys before and after accessing a website in 2012. Low eHL Internet users appeared less capable of obtaining knowledge of CRC by accessing information from a reputable cancer website than high eHL Internet users.

Access Associations of eHealth Literacy with Obtaining Knowledge about Colorectal Cancer among Internet Users Accessing a Reputable Cancer Website: Internet-Based Survey Study


We Have A Health Literacy Problem, And It’s Time To Face It Head-On

May 6, 2020 (Forbes)

Nearly half of all Europeans have a “problematic” or worse level of health literacy. Only 12% of people in the U.S. have “proficient” health literacy, and 59% of adult Australians suffer from inadequate knowledge around their health.

Based on the populations of these three regions alone, a large swath of people are unable to make good decisions around their health. They don’t seek care when they need it, and they can’t live healthy lifestyles. Some will be susceptible to misinformation and fraud.

It’s long been a problem desperately in need of addressing. But the outbreak of COVID-19 has exposed what health illiteracy looks like at its worst.

You can read the complete article We Have A Health Literacy Problem, And It’s Time To Face It Head-On.


A systematic literature review of existing conceptualisation and measurement of mental health literacy in adolescent research: current challenges and inconsistencies

May 1, 2020 (PubMed)

With an increased political interest in school-based mental health education, the dominant understanding and measurement of mental health literacy (MHL) in adolescent research should be critically appraised. This systematic literature review aimed to investigate the conceptualisation and measurement of MHL in adolescent research and the extent of methodological homogeneity in the field for meta-analyses. MHL research with adolescent samples is increasing. Results suggest that a better understanding of what MHL means for this population is needed in order to develop reliable, valid and feasible adolescent measures, and explore mechanisms for change in improving adolescent mental health.

Access A systematic literature review of existing conceptualisation and measurement of mental health literacy in adolescent research: current challenges and inconsistencies


Accuracy of the Spinal Pain Diagram Is Influenced by Patient Health Literacy in Completion of the Scoliosis Research Society30 Questionnaire

Spring, 2020 (PubMed)

The purpose of this research study was to investigate the health literacy demands of the Scoliosis Research Society Questionnaire (SRS30) and to determine if health literacy best practices mitigate errors for patients with low health literacy. Readability assessment, focus groups and structured interviews were used. Results indicated that patients with low health literacy perceived health literacy best practices as helpful in completing the SRS30 drawing. Additionally, patients with inadequate health literacy had a higher proportion of errors in pain location on the drawing (p = 0.0325) compared to patients with adequate health literacy. (Journal of Surgical Orthopaedic Advances 29(1):3942, 2020).

Access Accuracy of the Spinal Pain Diagram Is Influenced by Patient Health Literacy in Completion of the Scoliosis Research Society30 Questionnaire


Health Literacy Environment of Breast and Cervical Cancer among Black African Women Globally: A Systematic Review Protocol of Mixed Methods

May 1, 2020 (PubMed)

Evidence exists indicating a low level of general health literacy among Black African women, especially those with a refugee background. The level of health literacy specific to breast and cervical cancer among Black African women, especially those with a refugee background, has not been reviewed systematically. The present study describes a protocol for a systematic review of the available evidence on the level of health literacy specific to breast and cervical cancer among Black African women globally. We will perform a systematic review of the available quantitative and qualitative studies. We will be guided by socioecological theory and Indigenous epistemology to synthesise the non-quantifiable information thematically, and pool the quantitative information using meta-analysis, based on the availability of information.

Access Health Literacy Environment of Breast and Cervical Cancer among Black African Women Globally: A Systematic Review Protocol of Mixed Methods


IHLA Statement to the WHO on health literacy as an essential life-saving strategy during the pandemic

May, 2020 (International Health Literacy Association)

Throughout the course of the COVID-19 pandemic, health literacy has manifested itself as an essentiallife-saving determinant of health and of healthy behavior. COVID-19has given rise to the COVID-19 infodemic spreading dangerousmisinformation. Inaccurate information underminesthe efforts of governments, WHO,and public health authorities to contain the spread of COVID-19. Citizens and governmentsand other official agenciesare dependent on health literacy to make the best use of availableinformation. The epidemiological curve flattenswhen people can find, understand, judge and useevidence-based information regarding the risk of contractingthe virus and of effective prevention, such as handwashing, social distancing, and wearing masks.

Access IHLA Statement to the WHO on health literacy as an essential life-saving strategy during the pandemic


Non-health outcomes affecting self-care behaviors and medical decision-making preference in patients with type 2 diabetes: a cross-sectional study

April, 2020 (PubMed)

The effects of patient sustained self-care behaviors on glycemic control are even greater than the effects of medical treatment, indicating the value of identifying the factors that influence self-care behaviors. To date, these factors have not been placed in a single model to clarify the critical path affecting self-care behaviors. The aims of this study were to explore the relationships of these factors and the differences in patient preference for medical decision-making. Significant direct pathways were identified from health literacy to self-efficacy, patient empowerment, and self-care behaviors; from self-efficacy to self-care behaviors; and from patient empowerment to self-care behaviors. Indirect pathways were from health literacy to self-care behaviors via self-efficacy or patient empowerment. The pathway from health literacy to self-efficacy was significantly stronger in those preferring shared decision-making than in those who preferred physician decision-making.

Access Non-health outcomes affecting self-care behaviors and medical decision-making preference in patients with type 2 diabetes: a cross-sectional study


Development of a communication and health literacy curriculum: Optimizing the informal cancer caregiver role

April, 2020 (PubMed)

The aim of this study was to develop learning objectives and identify content for a core communication and health literacy curriculum designed to optimize the role of informal cancer caregivers (family or friends). This theoretically grounded study systematically identified seven curriculum topic areas and content unique to caregivers and included input from key stakeholders. The next step is to develop the program for dissemination and to test its impact on caregiver and patient outcomes.

Access Development of a communication and health literacy curriculum: Optimizing the informal cancer caregiver role


A Path Analysis of Patient and Social-Level Factors on Health Literacy and Retention in Care Among African Americans Living with HIV

April, 2020 (PubMed)

Low health literacy and poor retention in care may contribute to HIV health disparities among African Americans, but causal pathways have not been examined. We utilized an adapted health literacy model to examine the role of health literacy on racial disparities in retention in care. Retention in care for 699 participants was assessed 24-months post survey and operationalized as 100% visit adherence versus less than 100% visit adherence. Most participants were African American (60%) and virally suppressed (93%). Results from a path analysis revealed that non-African American race was related to greater health literacy (p = .023) and to 100% visit adherence (p = .024). Greater health literacy was associated with 100% visit adherence (p = .008), which was in turn related to viral suppression (p < .001). Findings indicate that health literacy partially mediates the relationship between race and retention in care and are among the first to suggest these causal pathways.

Access A Path Analysis of Patient and Social-Level Factors on Health Literacy and Retention in Care Among African Americans Living with HIV


Real-World Responses in Real Time : COVID-19 Information Needs to Consider Literacy Gaps

April 30, 2020 (Inside IES Research)

During the COVID-19 pandemic, when people have a heightened need for information, literacy barriers can be life threatening. In the United States, roughly 20 percent of adults read at the lowest level, with another 33 percent still below proficiency. Thus, many may be struggling to understand written guidance on COVID-19.

IES researchers at the Center for the Study of Adult Literacy (R305C120001 and R305H180061) and their associated Adult Literacy Research Center at Georgia State University are working to address the needs of adults with literacy skill gaps. Dr. Meredith Larson spoke to Dr. Daphne Greenberg and Dr. Iris Feinberg about their work in this area.

Real-World Responses in Real Time : COVID-19 Information Needs to Consider Literacy Gaps


Medication self-management support for people with diabetes and low health literacy: A needs assessment

[Journal Article] April, 2020 (PubMed)

An adequate level of health literacy is regarded as a prerequisite for adequate medication self-management. Low health literacy skills are relatively more common in people with Diabetes Mellitus type 2. The aim of this study was to explore the needs regarding medication self-management of people with type 2 diabetes and low (functional, communicative and critical) health literacy, and their preferences for medication self-management support.

Access Medication self-management support for people with diabetes and low health literacy: A needs assessment.


Testing the Preliminary Validity of a Multidimensional Framework for Studying the Effects of Cancer Health Literacy on Cancer Screening Behaviors among Diverse Populations

April 25, 2020 (PubMed)

The objective of this study was to evaluate the applicability of a multidimensional framework to explore factors associated with cancer literacy and its effects on receiving cancer screenings among diverse populations. Based on the conceptual framework, we developed and pilot-tested the Multidimensional Cancer Literacy Questionnaire (MCLQ) among 1500 individuals (African Americans, Latinos and Whites) in Louisiana. A multidimensional framework to study cancer literacy, including cultural attitudes, beliefs and practices, as well as facilitators and barriers, among diverse populations, will increase understanding of factors influencing individuals’ approach to cancer prevention and screening. Results will inform further testing of the multidimensional framework and questionnaire.

Access Testing the Preliminary Validity of a Multidimensional Framework for Studying the Effects of Cancer Health Literacy on Cancer Screening Behaviors among Diverse Populations


Development and Psychometric Properties of a Questionnaire Assessing Self-Reported Generic Health Literacy in Adolescence

April 21, 2020 (PubMed)

Promoting health literacy in early stages of life could contribute to reducing health inequalities. However, it is difficult to identify concrete needs for action as there are few age-adjusted measures to assess generic health literacy in young people. Our aim was to develop a multidimensional measure of health literacy in German to assess generic health literacy among 14- to 17-year-old adolescents, namely, the “Measurement of Health Literacy Among Adolescents Questionnaire” (MOHLAA-Q). The internal consistency coefficients (Cronbach’s α) of the scales varied from 0.54 to 0.77. The development of the MOHLAA-Q constitutes a significant step towards the comprehensive measurement of adolescents’ health literacy. However, further research is necessary to re-examine its structural validity and to improve the internal consistency of two scales.

Access Development and Psychometric Properties of a Questionnaire Assessing Self-Reported Generic Health Literacy in Adolescence


Fostering Health Literacy Responsiveness in a Remote Primary Health Care Setting: A Pilot Study

April 16, 2020 (PubMed)

Primary healthcare organisations have an important role in addressing health literacy as this is a barrier to accessing and utilising health care. Until recently, no organisational development tool operationalising health literacy in an Australian context existed. This research evaluated the efficacy of the Organisational Health Literacy Responsiveness (Org-HLR) tool and associated assessment process in a primary healthcare organisation in the Pilbara region of Western Australia. External barriers to improving their internal organisational health literacy responsiveness were identified, with participants acknowledging the management style and culture of open communication within the organisation as enablers of change. Participants identified actionable changes to improve their organisational health literacy responsiveness using the process of organisational assessment and change.

Access Fostering Health Literacy Responsiveness in a Remote Primary Health Care Setting: A Pilot Study


Coronavirus (COVID-19) Resources

April, 2020 (Center for Health Literacy Solutions)

Sorting through the tons of Coronavirus (COVID-19) resources can be time-consuming. To help, we have put together a collection of resources that explain things in plain language and that help to break down this complex topic. We update the collection frequently so please keep checking back.

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Resources


COVID-19: health literacy is an underestimated problem

April 14, 2020 (The Lancet Public Health)

Rapid development of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) into a pandemic has called for people to acquire and apply health information, and adapt their behaviour at a fast pace. Health communication intended to educate people about the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) and how to avoid getting or spreading the infection has become widely available. Most valuable information is created in an easy-to-understand manner that offers simple and practical solutions, such as washing hands, maintaining physical distance, and where to find information about the latest recommendations, and advice. Unfortunately, there is also complex, contradictory, and false information. Similarly, individuals are considered able to acquire, understand, and use this information in a sound and ethical manner—ie, to be health literate.

Access COVID-19: health literacy is an underestimated problem.


Using the Health Literacy Questionnaire (HLQ) with Providers in the Early Intervention Setting: A Qualitative Validity Testing Study

April 10, 2020 (PubMed)

Early intervention (EI) programs are optimally placed to build the health literacy capacity of caregivers, which could improve health equity. The health literacy of interdisciplinary EI providers has not previously been measured. This study used the Health Literacy Questionnaire (HLQ) with EI providers (n = 10) to investigate evidence based on response (cognitive) processes. Three themes reflecting discordance were identified: (1) Differences between Australian and USA culture/health systems; (2) Healthcare provider perspective; and (3) Participants with no health problems to manage. Results show strong concordance between EI providers’ narrative responses and item intents. Study results contribute validity evidence for the use of HLQ data to inform interventions that build health literacy capacity of EI providers to then empower and build the health literacy of EI parents.

Access Using the Health Literacy Questionnaire (HLQ) with Providers in the Early Intervention Setting: A Qualitative Validity Testing Study


Coronavirus Center – Lifeology

April, 2020 (Lifeology)

Lifeology is a platform that brings together scientists, artists, writers and broader audiences in the creation of educational content including mobile-friendly Lifeology mini-courses that can reach anyone.

Groundbreaking science is increasingly collaborative and interdisciplinary. The same is true for science communication (or scicomm, as we like to call it). By working with artists and writers here at Lifeology.io, scientists can better communicate their work with relevance to society and people’s daily lives.

Go to Coronavirus Center – Lifeology


Potentials of School Nursing for Strengthening the Health Literacy of Children, Parents and Teachers

April 9, 2020 (PubMed)

Health literacy (HL) plays a key role in explaining health disparities. School nurses (SN) provide health related expertise within the school setting. A positive effect on the HL of children but also their teachers and parents has been suggested by some research, but gaps persist in the available information. Improvements were significant for children and parents but not for the teachers. Despite the relatively short intervention period and a relatively non-specific spectrum of interventions, there is some evidence that SN may contribute to strengthening HL within the school setting. The longer-term effects of SN on health literacy and child health should be further examined. For this, a clearer conceptualization of the scope of work of the SN in Germany including their educational interventions is imperative.

Access Potentials of School Nursing for Strengthening the Health Literacy of Children, Parents and Teachers


AI Steps Up to Fight COVID-19 with New Digital Human Health Advisor

April 7, 2020 (Directions Magazine)

United States and New Zealand based digital human company UneeQ, has launched a free COVID-19 health advisor designed to educate and help prevent the spread of misinformation, particularly among those with limited healthcare and medical literacy. According to the Center for Health Care Strategies, roughly 90 million Americans have low health literacy, including the elderly population that is most vulnerable to the COVID-19 outbreak.

Go to AI Steps Up to Fight COVID-19 with New Digital Human Health Advisor.


How Much Do Words Matter When We Talk to Our Patients?

April 3, 2020 (Haymarket Media, Inc.)

As a physician assistant (PA) who has been practicing for more than 20 years, a big part of my focus has been on health literacy, a subject that is completely different from literacy: Literacy is the ability to read and understand written/spoken language, whereas health literacy is the ability to understand what providers are talking about. Even with my strong commitment to making my communication meaningful and relevant to my patients, no matter their level of education, I often fail.

Access the article How Much Do Words Matter When We Talk to Our Patients?.


Patient Advocate Foundation Deploys a Range of Safety Net Services to Assist Patients and Families Impacted By COVID-19

April 1, 2020 (Patient Advocate Foundation)

Hampton, VA, April 01, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Patient Advocate Foundation (PAF), a national nonprofit organization that provides case management services, education, and financial aid to patients with chronic, debilitating and life-threatening diseases, is poised to deliver committed, expert, and expeditious help to patients and families who are facing health and financial impacts as a result of the novel Coronavirus (COVID-19). As a leader in the delivery of one-on-one interventions to our nation’s most vulnerable patient populations, PAF is honored to join the fight against COVID-19, urgently applying our skills and resources to the service of those impacted by this pandemic.

Read more Patient Advocate Foundation Deploys a Range of Safety Net Services to Assist Patients and Families Impacted By COVID-19.


COVID-19: where to find quality information

April, 2020 (IUHPE)

The dissemination of quality, timely and understandable information is key in slowing down transmission and avoiding overburdening the healthcare system. We have been supporting dissemination of evidence-based messaging on COVID-19 by trusted sources… To further IUHPE contribution to this collective effort, we are compiling a list of resources from key sources, IUHPE institutional members, Global Working Groups and Networks, academic publishers as well as collections of resources. We will be updating this page as new resources are created, or we learn about them.

You can access the materials via COVID-19: where to find quality information.


Living with a Chronic, Life-Threatening or Disabling Disease OR Diagnosed with COVID During the Coronavirus Pandemic

April, 2020 (Patient Advocate Foundation)

As the coronavirus spreads across the country, PAF wants to make sure you have answers and resources to support you during this uncertain and stressful time. If you are experiencing challenges accessing care or have affordability concerns we are here to help.

You can access the materials via Living with a Chronic, Life-Threatening or Disabling Disease OR Diagnosed with COVID During the Coronavirus Pandemic.


Health literacy level and influencing factors in university students

March, 2020 (PubMed)

Health literacy (HL) competencies vary across different health domains, and so the youth HL level plays an important role in access to healthcare. The aim of this study was to determine HL levels, the factors that affect it and health-promoting lifestyle behaviours of university students. Logistic regression showed that gender and health education were significantly associated with the HL level. We recommend increasing awareness regarding health liability and integrating HL notions into the higher education curriculum.

Access Health literacy level and influencing factors in university students


Identifying Core Variables Associated With Health Literacy in Kidney Transplant Recipients

March, 2020 (PubMed)

A kidney transplantation requires complex self-care skills and adequate follow-up from health-care providers. Identifying strengths and limitations in different aspects of health literacy (HL) and associated variables are central to being able to improve health care. The objective of this study was to identify core variables associated with independent domains of HL 8 weeks following a kidney transplantation. The HLQ provides a more complex picture of strengths and limitations related to HL, as well as important knowledge about vulnerable groups following a kidney transplantation. The study offers an important supplement to the field of HL in kidney transplant care.

Access Identifying Core Variables Associated With Health Literacy in Kidney Transplant Recipients


COVID-19 Fact Sheets – Available in 34 Languages

March, 2020 (Harvard Health Publishing)

The COVID-19 Health Literacy Project has created and translated accessible COVID-19 information into different languages to help all patients know when, and how, to seek care. The materials are created in collaboration with Harvard Health Publishing. Find the language you need at COVID-19 Fact Sheets – Available in 34 Languages.


The Agreement between Patients’ and Healthcare Professionals’ Assessment of Patients’ Health Literacy-A Systematic Review

March 31, 2020 (PubMed)

Healthcare professionals (HCPs) can play a key role in promoting health literacy (HL) in patients to help them navigate the healthcare system effectively. HCPs should assess patients’ health literacy needs and check the patient´s understanding to communicate adequate health information. This review investigates the agreement between the patients’ and HCPs assessment of patients’ HL. The results demonstrated that HCPs had difficulty determining patients’ HL adequately. Differences between the HL estimation of HCPs and the actual HL skills of patients might lead to communication problems.

Access The Agreement between Patients’ and Healthcare Professionals’ Assessment of Patients’ Health Literacy-A Systematic Review


Coronavirus/COVID-19 – Frequently Asked Questions (Printable Resource)

March, 2020 (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)

The CDC recently published this easy-to-read printable FAQ flyer on COVID-19. You can find more print resources by the CDC on the Coronavirus Coronavirus/COVID-19 – Frequently Asked Questions (Printable Resource).

For up-to-date information about COVID-19, visit https://coronavirus.gov


Relationship between Determinants of Health, Equity, and Dimensions of Health Literacy in Patients with Cardiovascular Disease

March 20, 2020 (PubMed)

Health literacy (HL) has been linked to empowerment, use of health services, and equity. Evaluating HL in people with cardiovascular health problems would facilitate the development of suitable health strategies care and reduce inequity. Aim: To investigate the relationship between different dimensions that make up HL and social determinants in patients with cardiovascular disease.

Access Relationship between Determinants of Health, Equity, and Dimensions of Health Literacy in Patients with Cardiovascular Disease


COVID-19: A Guide to Good Practice on Keeping People Well Informed

March 19, 2020 (SA People News)

The coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is spreading across the world. For those who catch it, the vast majority will experience mild symptoms, but for a few, it can cause severe disease and death. Some groups – like older people and those with pre-existing health conditions – are more vulnerable when exposed than others. Read more COVID-19: A Guide to Good Practice on Keeping People Well Informed.


The effects of health literacy in influenza vaccination competencies among community-dwelling older adults in Hong Kong

March 14, 2020 (PubMed)

Poor health literacy was found to be one of the key barriers in older adults’ disease prevention practice. However, it has still been unclear how different processes in health literacy play a role in older adult’s vaccination-related competencies. By adopting the European Health Literacy Survey (HLS-EU), the current study aimed to examine older adults’ competences in accessing, understanding, evaluating and applying health information, as well as how they are related to perceived difficulties in vaccination-related practices. The findings showed that the health literacy of Hong Kong older adults has been limited, particularly in information appraisal. Poorer competences in accessing and appraising health information were associated with greater difficulties in making vaccination decision.

Access The effects of health literacy in influenza vaccination competencies among community-dwelling older adults in Hong Kong


Individual and Organizational Health Literacy: A Key to the Future of Health

March 17, 2020 (National Library of Medicine)

As the Secretary’s Advisory Committee on National Health Promotion and Disease Prevention Objectives for 2030 prepares its new statement for Healthy People 2030, NLM has been asked to review and comment on the definition of health literacy. This request has provided a good opportunity for me to consider how NLM facilitates health literacy — but more about that in a minute. Read more Individual and Organizational Health Literacy: A Key to the Future of Health.


The Mediating Role of the Patient Health Engagement Model on the Relationship Between Patient Perceived Autonomy Supportive Healthcare Climate and Health Literacy Skills

March 7, 2020 (PubMed)

Individuals with low health literacy (HL) are known to have poorer health outcomes and to have higher mortality rates compared to individuals with higher HL; hence, the improvement of HL is a key outcome in modern healthcare systems. Our main hypothesis is that the well-known relationship between patients’ perceived autonomy supportive healthcare climate and HL skills is mediated by the Patient Health Engagement Model (PHE-model). The purpose of this study was to formulate a hypothetical structural equation model (SEM) linking an autonomy-supportive healthcare climate to PHE-model and HL. Results show that the theoretical model has a good fit indexes and that PHE-model fully mediates the relationship between autonomy-supportive healthcare climate and HL. This finding suggests healthcare systems to implement a new paradigm where patients are supported to play an autonomous role in their own healthcare.

Health Literacy as Communicative Action-A Qualitative Study among Persons at Risk in the Context of Predictive and Preventive Medicine

March 5, 2020 (PubMed)

Predictive and preventive medicine play an increasingly important role in public debates on health, providing cutting-edge technologies with the potential to measure and predict individual risks of getting ill. This leads to an ever-expanding definitional space between being “healthy” and being “ill”, challenging the individual’s everyday life, attitudes and perceptions towards the self and the process of health-related decision-making. “How do the condition of ‘being at risk’ and individual health literacy interrelate?” is the leading question of the current contribution. Drawing on empirical qualitative data, collected by means of narrative interviews with persons at risk in four clinical fields, a bottom-up ethnographic and health sciences perspective on health literacy (with an emphasis on critical health literacy) is employed. The findings will be embedded within theoretical approaches dealing with power relations and communication in healthcare encounters, particularly Habermas’ theory of communicative action. The core outcome of our study is a concept for an overarching model of health literacy in the context of health-related risk prediction across indications, based on empirical insights gained through interpretative analysis of the four clinical domains.

Health Literacy: From a Property of Individuals to One of Communities

March 2, 2020 (PubMed)

Health literacy (HL) is increasingly hailed as a strategy to improve the control individuals have over their health. A central critic of HL intervention is its overemphasis on individual level factors, something recognised in the 2008 report of the Commission of Social Determinants of Health (SDoH) that recommended expanding the scope of HL to cover the SDoH. The objective of our study was to assess the extent to which recent progress on HL captures the need for collective action on the SDoH. We found no instance of HL intervention regarding communities as complex systems of actors sharing a common space and dynamic. We conclude by suggesting a new definition of HL and by drawing attention to the research gap in addressing the upstream SDoH through HL actions.

Access Health Literacy: From a Property of Individuals to One of Communities


COVID-19 Graphic Medicine

March, 2020 (Center for Disease Control and Prevention)

Using comics, or infographics, is an effective way to convey health information to the public in a way that is engaging and simple. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently published 10 comics about COVID-19. Most are available in multiple languages and cover topics like basic COVID facts, proper handwashing, and what to do if you’re sick.

You can access the free print resources.


Self-reported Health Literacy Among North Carolina Adults and Associations With Health Status and Chronic Health Conditions

Mar-Apr 2020 (PubMed)

Low health literacy is a recognized contributor to health disparities. Significant proportions of the adult population, especially the underserved, have low health literacy. The purpose of this study was to examine health literacy and its associations with health status and chronic health conditions among North Carolina adults
You can read more Self-reported Health Literacy Among North Carolina Adults and Associations With Health Status and Chronic Health Conditions.


Organized dentistry supports oral health literacy

March 4, 2020 (American Dental Association)

In a Feb. 26 letter to Reps. Tony Cárdenas, D-Calif., and Gus Bilirakis, R-Fla., the coalition — led by the Academy of General Dentistry — thanked the lawmakers for introducing HR 4678, the Oral Health Literacy and Awareness Act. The bill authorizes the Health Resources and Services Administration to develop a 5-year evidence-based oral health literacy campaign across the agency’s relevant programs.
You can read more Organized dentistry supports oral health literacy.


Demographic and psychosocial factors associated with limited health literacy in a community-based sample of older Black Americans

February, 2020 (PubMed)

Individuals with limited health literacy often experience suboptimal health outcomes. This study examined the frequency of limited health literacy and demographic and psychosocial factors associated with limited health literacy in a sample of older Black Americans. Approximately 52% of participants had limited health literacy, the REALM-R score was 5.4 (SD = 2.7). Univariable correlates of limited health literacy were gender, employment, income, prior screening, cancer fatalism, CRC awareness, and PHM constructs (religious beliefs, salience/coherence, perceived susceptibility). Limited health literacy was associated with multiple complex factors. Interventions should incorporate patient health literacy and low-literacy materials that can be delivered through multiple channels.

Access Demographic and psychosocial factors associated with limited health literacy in a community-based sample of older Black Americans


The effects of self-management education tailored to health literacy on medication adherence and blood pressure control among elderly people with primary hypertension: A randomized controlled trial

February, 2020 (PubMed)

This randomized controlled trial was conducted in 2018 with 118 elderly people with uncontrolled primary hypertension and inadequate health literacy. Self-management education was developed on the basis of the health literacy index. Medication adherence and blood pressure were assessed using 8-items Morisky Medication Adherence Scale and a mercury sphygmomanometer, respectively.

Self-management education tailored to health literacy significantly promotes medication adherence but has no significant effects on control of blood pressure.

Access The effects of self-management education tailored to health literacy on medication adherence and blood pressure control among elderly people with primary hypertension: A randomized controlled trial


The Association Between Cancer Care Coordination and Quality of Life Is Stronger for Breast Cancer Patients With Lower Health Literacy: A Greater Plains Collaborative Study

February, 2020 (National Center for Biotechnology Information)

Health literacy (HL) and cancer care coordination (CCC) were examined for their relationship to quality of life (QOL) among breast cancer survivors. CCC was hypothesized to have a stronger relationship to QOL for women with lower HL.. The association between CCC and later QOL is strongest for people who have lower HL. Prioritizing care coordination for patients with lower health literacy may be an effective strategy in a setting of limited resources.

[Journal Article]

You can read more The Association Between Cancer Care Coordination and Quality of Life Is Stronger for Breast Cancer Patients With Lower Health Literacy: A Greater Plains Collaborative Study.


Improving Organizational Health Literacy Responsiveness in Cardiac Rehabilitation Using a Co-Design Methodology: Results from The Heart Skills Study

February, 2020 (PubMed)

For health services, improving organizational health literacy responsiveness is a promising approach to enhance health and counter health inequity. A number of frameworks and tools are available to help organizations boost their health literacy responsiveness.      Within a municipal cardiac rehabilitation (CR) setting, the Heart Skills Study aimed to: (1) Develop and test an organizational health literacy intervention using an extended version of the Ophelia approach, and (2) evaluate the organizational impact of the application of the Ophelia approach. The findings can be used to inform the development and evaluation of sustainable co-designed health literacy initiatives in other settings.

[Journal Article]

Access Improving Organizational Health Literacy Responsiveness in Cardiac Rehabilitation Using a Co-Design Methodology: Results from The Heart Skills Study


Making a Case for “Education for Health Literacy”: An International Perspective

February 24, 2020 (PubMed)

 This Perspective Article describes the importance and utility of the education for health literacy perspective, which, follows a view that health literacy is a key outcome of health education from which improved population health, health promotion and disease prevention could be achieved across diverse contexts. We first describe different educational paradigms to address health literacy and clarify the education for health literacy perspective as a supportive, instructional and capacity-building global resource across the life-course. Then, using specific examples from Canada, America, and Germany, we provide a snapshot of the diverse ways in which the education for health literacy perspective can be found in national policies. We next consider the tensions and gaps that can arise in the translation and implementation of these policies relative to the ideal education for health literacy perspective, especially related to equity. Finally, we highlight strategic opportunities to achieve education for health literacy and equity especially offering examples from innovative practice in Canada across the lifespan.

Access Making a Case for “Education for Health Literacy”: An International Perspective


Health Literacy in Surgery

February 13, 2020 (PubMed)

Low health literacy is common among surgical patients. Important opportunities exist to better understand the role of health literacy in determining surgical outcomes and to develop more health literacy-sensitive models of surgical care. [HLRP: Health Literacy Research and Practice. 2020;4(1):e45-e65.] PLAIN LANGUAGE SUMMARY: Health literacy has not been well-studied in surgery but likely plays an important role. In this article, we reviewed all current research on health literacy in surgery to help us understand where we are at and where we need to go. We found that low health literacy is common and we need more ways to address it in surgery.

Access Health Literacy in Surgery


Empirically Tested Health Literacy Frameworks

February 11, 2020 (Healio)

Health literacy is a significant determinant of health behaviors, but the pathways through which health literacy influences health behaviors are not completely clear nor consistent. The purpose of this systematic review is to critically appraise studies that have empirically tested the potential pathways linking health literacy to health behavior.

[Journal Article]

You can read more Empirically Tested Health Literacy Frameworks.


Study: Health literacy leads to better outcomes for baby and mom

February 8, 2020 (Augusta Chronicle)

Women who understand the health information they are provided and who give birth in a hospital, have better outcomes, new research shows.

You can read more Study: Health literacy leads to better outcomes for baby and mom.


A Scoping Review on How to Make Hospitals health Literate Healthcare Organizations

February 6, 2020 (PubMed)

The aim of this study is to identify and describe, through a scoping review approach, the characteristics and the interventions that make a hospital a health literate health care organisation (HLHO), in order to develop an integrated conceptual model. Of the 1532 titles and abstracts screened, 106 were included. Few studies have explored the effect of environmental support on health professionals, and few outcomes related to staff satisfaction/perception of helpfulness have been reported. The logical framework developed can be an effective tool to define and understand priorities and related consequences, thereby helping researchers and policymakers to have a wider vision and a more homogeneous approach to health literacy and its use and promotion in healthcare organizations.

Access A Scoping Review on How to Make Hospitals health Literate Healthcare Organizations


Health Literacy in Adult Oncology: An Integrative Review

January/February, 2020 (PubMed)

Patients with cancer face high expectations for performing health literacy activities necessary for self-management and decision making, but only 12% of adults in the United States are proficient in health literacy. This review explores evidence regarding what is known about functional, interactive, and critical health literacy in adult oncology populations.

Implications for research: Additional research is needed to clarify the role of health literacy in cancer care to develop effective interventions that facilitate self-management and decision making.

Access Health Literacy in Adult Oncology: An Integrative Review


Effectiveness of Tailored Rehabilitation Education in Improving the Health Literacy and Health Status of Postoperative Patients With Breast Cancer: A Randomized Controlled Trial

January/February, 2020 (PubMed)

The improvement of breast cancer treatment and the extension of survivorship have led to the development of postoperative complications among cancer survivors. Health literacy (HL), defined as patients’ capability of using health information to maintain their health status, can enable breast cancer patients to manage postoperative complications.

Our results showed that the TRE program produced significant improvements in HL and health status in the components of the International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health. However, no significant difference was observed in the activity scores obtained using the Barthel Index between the 2 groups.

Our finding supports the effectiveness of 1-month TRE in improving HL and all components of the International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health status, except the activity component among breast cancer in Taiwan.

Access Effectiveness of Tailored Rehabilitation Education in Improving the Health Literacy and Health Status of Postoperative Patients With Breast Cancer: A Randomized Controlled Trial


Helping patients become health literate

January 29, 2020 (Medical Economics)

Due to the biology of aging, the potential presence of a life-limiting chronic illness and individuals who have completed a high school education or less, there is ample opportunity for widespread patient misunderstanding of their disease, their medication, how to self-manage their condition and how to appropriately access medical services.

You can read more Helping patients become health literate.


Re-enforce, Not Re-Define Health Literacy—Moving Forward with Health Literacy 2.0

December, 2019 (Taylor&FrancisGroup)

In the development of Healthy People 2030, a vibrant discussion about a “default new definition” of health literacy emerged. We co-authored the definition used in Healthy People 2010 and 2020 which was accepted by the Institute of Medicine… In this piece, we share a bit of context on Healthy People 2030’s ongoing consideration and summarize input that leading health services researchers and health communication scholars have offered his response to the Healthy People 2030 proposal for a new definition of health literacy.

Access Re-enforce, Not Re-Define Health Literacy—Moving Forward with Health Literacy 2.0


Health Literacy and Medication Adherence in COPD Patients: When Caregiver Presence Is Not Sufficient

December, 2019 (PubMed)

Limited health literacy (HL) is associated with a lower medication adherence in patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). In this study, we examined the potential mitigating role of caregiver support on the relationship between HL and adherence to COPD medications. We conducted a prospective observational study of adults with COPD and their caregivers.

Access Health Literacy and Medication Adherence in COPD Patients: When Caregiver Presence Is Not Sufficient


Nursing Students ‘Teach Back’ to Promote Health Literacy

December 11, 2019 (Georgia State University)

CLARKSTON, Ga.—It’s Saturday morning, and the waiting room of Grace Village Medical Clinic is packed. Many of the patients are originally from Burundi, Pakistan and Burma, while others are natives of the United States. Some are elderly, others come with children in tow. All live below the poverty line.

The free clinic has served this community’s poor, predominantly refugee population for six years. Staffed by medical professionals who volunteer their time, and organized by members of Snellville’s Grace Fellowship Church, it is now one of the newest clinical sites for nursing students from Georgia State University’s Perimeter College.

You can read more Nursing Students ‘Teach Back’ to Promote Health Literacy.


Health Literacy 2.0: Integrating Patient Health Literacy Screening with Universal Precautions

December 6, 2019 (Healio)

The idea of screening patients for low health literacy has had a polarizing effect in the health literacy community… Given recent changes in health care delivery models, we propose that the time has come to consider a hybrid approach that employs both the foundation of universal precautions for all patients, as well as identification of those for whom universal precautions alone may not suffice, due to extreme needs…This integrated approach is well aligned with recent innovation in the health care landscape and should be considered by researchers, providers, and policymakers.
[Journal Article]

You can read more Health Literacy 2.0: Integrating Patient Health Literacy Screening with Universal Precautions.


10 Minutes to Better Patient Communication: Some more health literacy basics

November 20, 2019 (Health Communication Partners)

There’s exciting things happening in the health literacy field. As big as health literacy has become, the term can still cause some confusion. And for good reason! In this episode you’ll learn some not-so-basic basics about health literacy, and some suggestions to help you with health literacy in your context.

You can read more 10 Minutes to Better Patient Communication: Some more health literacy basics.


The Neighborhood Atlas—Free Social Determinants of Health Data for All!

November 20, 2019 (National Institutes of Health)

At NIA, we know that achieving and maintaining good health is about more than biology. The neighborhoods where we live, work, play, worship and grow older play significant roles: Income levels, education, housing quality, and employment, or lack thereof, are all factors.

You can read more The Neighborhood Atlas—Free Social Determinants of Health Data for All!.


Examining Generalizability of Older Adults’ Preferences for Discussing Cessation of Screening Colonoscopies in Older Adults with Low Health Literacy

November, 2019 (PubMed)

Many older adults receive unnecessary screening colonoscopies. We previously conducted a survey using a national online panel to assess older adults’ preferences for how clinicians can discuss stopping screening colonoscopies. We sought to assess the generalizability of those results by comparing them to a sample of older adults with low health literacy. The responses from the two samples were highly correlated (Spearman’s coefficient 0.92, p < 0.0001). The most preferred phrase to explain stopping screening colonoscopy was “Your other health issues should take priority” in both groups. The three least preferred options were also the same for both groups, with the least preferred being “The doctor does not give an explanation.” The explanation that referred to “quality of life” was more preferred by the low health literacy group whereas explanations that mentioned “unlikely to benefit” and “high risk for harms” were more preferred by the national survey group (all p < 0.001).
Access Examining Generalizability of Older Adults’ Preferences for Discussing Cessation of Screening Colonoscopies in Older Adults with Low Health Literacy


Assessing Patient Health Literacy for Improved Outcomes, Safety

November 19, 2019 (Xtelligent Healthcare Media)

As healthcare increasingly moves from volume to value, it’s becoming imperative for providers to understand more than what patients present at their yearly checkups…Environmental factors, such as where a patient lives and works, as well as an individual’s access to nutritious food and other resources, can impact patient health even more than clinical elements.

Patient health literacy, or a patient’s understanding of her health conditions and possible treatments, is a critical, non-medical aspect of improving patient safety and outcomes.

You can read more Assessing Patient Health Literacy for Improved Outcomes, Safety.


2019 Federal Report Card

2019 (Center For Plain Language)

In 2010, Congress passed the Plain Writing Act to ensure that people can understand the information they receive from federal agencies. Since 2012, the Center for Plain Language has issued a yearly report card evaluating how well agencies follow this law.

This year, we evaluated 21 Executive Branch agencies, including all 15 cabinet-level departments. Agencies earned grades between A and F  for both organizational compliance, covering the staffing, training, and annual reporting required by law, and writing, focusing on how easy it is to find, understand, and use information the public needs.

You can read more 2019 Federal Report Card.


Patient Health Literacy Limited Ahead of Open Enrollment Season

November 1, 2019 (PatientEngagementHIT.com)

Lacking health literacy skills are keeping over 80 percent of patients fully understanding their health insurance benefits before open enrollment.

 Limited health literacy keeps nearly one-quarter of patients from accessing medical care, for fear that their health payers will not cover certain services, according to new survey data from Policygenius.

You can read the complete article Patient Health Literacy Limited Ahead of Open Enrollment Season.


The Health literacy of hospitalized trauma patients: We should be screening for deficiencies

November, 2019 (PubMed)

[Journal Article] Although the impact of health literacy (HL) on trauma patient outcomes remains unclear, recent studies have demonstrated that trauma patients with deficient HL have poor understanding of their injuries, are less likely to comply with follow-up, and are relatively less satisfied with physician communication. In this study, we sought to determine if HL deficiency was associated with comprehension of discharge instructions.

Access The health literacy of hospitalized trauma patients: We should be screening for deficiencies


HHS Leaders Highlight the Importance of Health Literacy

October 31, 2019 (health.gov)

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is fortunate to have an active health literacy workgroup that represents over a dozen agencies. Its mission is to advance health literacy across our department… In celebration of Health Literacy Month, the workgroup collected insights from leaders across HHS to highlight how addressing health literacy is central to achieving departmental and agency goals, and how HHS has contributed to health literacy improvement.

You can read the complete article HHS Leaders Highlight the Importance of Health Literacy.


The digital divide: Examining socio-demographic factors associated with health literacy, access and use of internet to seek health information

October 24, 2019 (PubMed)

This article aims to examine the socio-demographic characteristics associated with access and use of Internet for health-related purposes and its relationship with health literacy. Data were drawn from a health literacy survey (N = 1046) and analysed using logistic regression. Results show a strong association between health literacy, internet access and use. Socio-demographic characteristics particularly age, education, income, perceived health and social isolation also predict internet access. Thus, in addition to widening access, the movement towards digitisation of health information and services should also consider digital skills development to enable people to utilise digital technology more effectively, especially among traditionally hard-to-reach communities.

Access The digital divide: Examining socio-demographic factors associated with health literacy, access and use of internet to seek health information


Consumers are confused about healthcare: Here’s how physicians can help

October 22, 2019 (Medical Economics)

Few issues are more confusing to Americans than ever shifting healthcare laws. In recent years, they’ve seen the Affordable Care Act pass and have heard countless debates about its merits. This constant uncertainty surrounding healthcare in the United States leaves most patients at a loss on a topic vital to their well-being.

You can read the complete article Consumers are confused about healthcare: Here’s how physicians can help.


In a review of 337,000 patient cases, this was the No. 1 most common preventable medical error

October 20, 2019 (MarketWatch)

Preventable medical harm is still far too common, but experts say patients can take steps to protect themselves.

One in 20 patients (6%) is impacted by preventable medical errors, according to a recent study published in the peer-reviewed journal BMJ. What’s more, about 12% of preventable patient harm results in “prolonged, permanent disability” or even death.

You can read the complete article In a review of 337,000 patient cases, this was the No. 1 most common preventable medical error.


The Influence of Masculine Norms and Mental Health on Health Literacy Among Men: Evidence From the Ten to Men Study

October, 2019 (PubMed)

Adherence to masculine norms, such as self-reliance, has been thought to predict lower health literacy. Using two waves of the Ten to Men cohort, the current study examined whether masculinity and depressive symptomology explained three aspects of health literacy among men. Three subscales of the Health Literacy Questionnaire were used as the outcomes: Ability to find good health information; Ability to actively engage with healthcare providers, and Feeling understood and supported by healthcare providers. Across all three health literacy scales, increased global conformity to masculine norms was associated with a decrease in health literacy. Moderate-to-severe depressive symptoms were likewise associated with a decrease in health literacy on all three scales, with the effects particularly strong for “Ability to engage with healthcare providers.”

Access The Influence of Masculine Norms and Mental Health on Health Literacy Among Men: Evidence From the Ten to Men Study


Does Health Literacy Mediate the Relationship Between Socioeconomic Status and Health Disparities? Integrative Review

October, 2019 (PubMed)

While socioeconomic disparities are among the most fundamental causes of health disparities, socioeconomic status (SES) does not impact health directly. One of the potential mediating factors that link SES and health is health literacy (HL). Yet although HL can be considered a modifiable risk factor of socioeconomic disparities in health, the relationship between SES, HL and health disparities is not well understood. This study reviewed the evidence regarding the mediating role of HL in the relationship between socioeconomic and health disparities.

Access Does Health Literacy Mediate the Relationship Between Socioeconomic Status and Health Disparities? Integrative Review


Guidance & Tools

October, 2019 (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)

The guidance and tools on this page by the CDC can help make your health information accurate, accessible, and actionable. Topics include Communication Guidance, Material Assessment Tools, Plain Language Materials & Resources, and Web Communication Guidance

You can access the complete Guidance & Tools.


The Impact of Health Literacy on Health Outcomes in Individuals With Chronic Pain: A Cross-Sectional Study

September, 2019 (National Center for Biotechnology Information)

[Journal Article]

Objective: To establish if health literacy (HL) is linked to poorer outcomes and behaviors in patients with chronic pain.
Design: A prospective cross-sectional observational study.
Setting: Multidisciplinary out-patient pain clinics in three university teaching hospitals.
Patients: New patients (n=131) referred to the pain clinic with a history of chronic pain (> 12 weeks).
Conclusion: Inadequate HL is prevalent in chronic pain patients, and may impact on the development of certain characteristics necessary for effective self-management.

You can read the full journal article The Impact of Health Literacy on Health Outcomes in Individuals With Chronic Pain: A Cross-Sectional Study.


Implementation of an organisation-wide health literacy approach to improve the understandability and actionability of patient information and education materials: A pre-post effectiveness study

September, 2019 (PubMed.gov)

Limited examples exist globally of coordinated, organisation-wide health literacy approaches to systematically improve the understandability and actionability of patient health information. Even fewer have been formally evaluated. The aim of this study was to use the Patient Education Materials Assessment Tool (PEMAT) to evaluate the effectiveness of an organisation-wide, evidence-based approach to improve the understandability and actionability of patient information materials in regional health service in New South Wales, Australia.

Access Implementation of an organisation-wide health literacy approach to improve the understandability and actionability of patient information and education materials: A pre-post effectiveness study


Who is a Health Literacy Hero?

September, 2019 (Health Literacy Month 2019)

Health Literacy Heroes are individuals, teams, and organizations who identify health literacy problems and act to solve them. Being a hero, enables you to share and inform other health literacy professionals of your ideas, and your influence. Together we have superpowers!

You can read the full article Who is a Health Literacy Hero?.


Doctors’ words can be wounding — or healing

September 17, 2019 (The Philadelphia Inquirer)

As I listened intently to a resident physician presenting the case of a little girl with asthma, I could hear the young doctor’s frustration. Her 7-year-old patient “was hospitalized once again,” she said with an audible sigh, probably because of the mother’s “noncompliance” with her daughter’s medication regimen.

You can read the full announcement Doctors’ words can be wounding — or healing.


The Link Between Health Literacy & Cancer Communication

August 20, 2019 (ONCOLOGY TIMES)

In an era of increasingly complex advances in oncology, how can health professionals help cancer patients with low health literacy better understand their diagnoses and treatment options? In an effort to improve cancer communication strategies with patients, the National Cancer Policy Forum (NCPF) of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NAS) convened a meeting of invited speakers in Washington, D.C. The event was held in collaboration with the NAS Roundtable on Health Literacy.

You can read the full article The Link Between Health Literacy & Cancer Communication.


A Missed Opportunity: Universal School-Based Mental Health Literacy Programs

August, 2019 (Springer Nature)

[Journal Article] The needs of our communities to identify, treat, and facilitate long-term care of mental health conditions have grown exponentially. In order to ensure the well-being of patients and families, a multifaceted population-health approach is warranted to create a culture of mental health literacy, and a potentially valuable target of these interventions is embedded within our school systems. This article will seek to highlight the utility of universal school-based mental health programs by first providing a personal vignette from the authors that serves as an archetype of the present limitations in community mental health literacy and the consequences of stigma on help-seeking behaviors.

You can read the full journal article A Missed Opportunity: Universal School-Based Mental Health Literacy Programs.


Patient-Provider Communication: Shared Decision-Making Enhances Care

August 06, 2019 (Specialty Pharmacy Times)

Effective patient-provider communication results in optimum patient outcomes and includes shared decision-making between the patient and provider, weighing the pros and cons of treatment, and making an informed decision as a result. As a 24-year survivor of terminal leukemia, I favor this type of mutual respect regardless of the provider’s specialty or role. From my experiences with providers, shared decision-making, or patient centeredness, provides more empowerment for the patient and fosters trust and confidence in the health care provider.

You can read the full article Patient-Provider Communication: Shared Decision-Making Enhances Care.


Improving access to important recovery information for heart patients with low health literacy: reflections on practice-based initiatives

July, 2019 (PubMed)

Evidence exists for the association between health literacy and heart health outcomes. Cardiac rehabilitation is critical for recovery from heart attack and reducing hospital readmissions. Despite this, <30% of people participate in a program. Significant patient, hospital and health system challenges exist to improve recovery through increased heart health literacy. This brief case study reflects and documents practice-based initiatives by Heart Foundation Victoria to improve access to recovery information for patients with low literacy levels. Key outcomes included increased access to recovery information for patients with low health literacy, nurse knowledge and confidence to engage with patients on recovery information, improved education of patients and improved availability and accessibility of information for patients in diverse formats.

Access Improving access to important recovery information for heart patients with low health literacy: reflections on practice-based initiatives


Implementing a health literacy module fostering patient-centered written communication in a cardiovascular prevention elective course

July, 2019 (PubMed)

A universal approach to health literacy employs clear communication and emphasizes patient action in support of understanding cardiovascular risks and making healthy lifestyle changes. The aim of this project was to evaluate the impact of a health literacy module on enhancing students’ written patient education material using standardized readability assessment tools.

Access Implementing a health literacy module fostering patient-centered written communication in a cardiovascular prevention elective course


Exploring Women’s Experiences in Accessing, Understanding, Appraising, and Applying Health Information During Pregnancy

July, 2019 (PubMed)

This study explored pregnant women’s experiences in accessing, understanding, evaluating, communicating, and using health information and services during pregnancy.

Methods: Pregnant participants (aged 18-45 years) were recruited from an obstetrics and gynecology department of a large urban training hospital. Focus groups were facilitated by a moderator’s guide developed from health literacy domains (access, understand, evaluate, and communicate and use), audio recorded, transcribed, and uploaded into ATLAS.ti. Constant comparative and thematic analysis were employed.

Access Exploring Women’s Experiences in Accessing, Understanding, Appraising, and Applying Health Information During Pregnancy


Organizational Health Literacy: Quality Improvement Measures with Expert Consensus

July 3, 2019 (Healio.com)

The health care system is complex. Health care organizations can make things easier for patients by making changes to improve communication and to help patients find their way around, become engaged in the health care process, and manage their health.

We sought to identify and evaluate existing OHL-related QI measures. To complement prior efforts to develop measures based on patient-reported data, we sought to identify measures computed from clinical, administrative, QI, or staff-reported data. Our goal was to develop a set of measures that experts agree are valuable for informing OHL-related QI activities. We identify 22 measures that organizations can use to monitor their efforts to improve communication with and support for patients.

You can read the full article Organizational Health Literacy: Quality Improvement Measures with Expert Consensus.


Health Literacy Positively Associated With Health-Related QOL in Patients With COPD

July 2, 2019 (AJMC)

Increased health literacy is associated with positive health-related quality of life (HRQOL) outcomes in chronic obstruction pulmonary disease (COPD) patients, according to a new study published in the Journal of Medical Internet Research.

“Although previous research has shown a relatively high prevalence of low health literacy among individuals living with COPD, little attention has been directed at exploring the cognitive and health literacy- related skills that can influence patients HRQoL… Findings from this study indicated that health literacy, but not eHealth literacy, was positively associated with generic HRQOL.”

You can read the full article Health Literacy Positively Associated With Health-Related QOL in Patients With COPD.


Actual and perceived patient health literacy: How accurate are residents’ predictions?

July 1, 2019 (SAGE Journals)

[Journal Article] Health literacy has repeatedly been shown to be associated with a multitude of negative health outcomes. Previous research has shown that patient health literacy levels are hard to predict by physicians and that assessment tools used to measure health literacy may be outdated or lacking. The purpose of this study is to replicate and extend the findings of previous research by examining residents’ ability to predict health literacy levels in patients and to use a newer validated measure of health literacy.

You can read the full journal article Actual and perceived patient health literacy: How accurate are residents’ predictions?.


Health literacy: Do we have effective interventions to enhance it in socially disadvantaged people?

June 29, 2019 (Sage Journal)

According to a comprehensive definition by the European Health Literacy Survey (HLS-EU), the concept of health literacy (HL) refers to the knowledge, motivation and competencies to assess, understand, appraise and apply health-related information within healthcare, disease prevention and health promoting settings.1 HL is recognised as a key determinant of health at both the society and individual level, in healthy people and with diverse communicable and non-communicable diseases.2 In healthy people and patients with coronary artery disease, low HL is significantly associated with smoking, unhealthy food choices, less physical activity and low adherence to medication.1,3 Thus, efforts to enhance HL are also highly relevant for cardiovascular disease (CVD) prevention.
Access Health literacy: Do we have effective interventions to enhance it in socially disadvantaged people?


Health-care providers join social media to dispel misconceptions, offer inspiration

June 18, 2019 (The Columbus Dispatch)

Looking for a tool to combat online misinformation and misconceptions he heard from patients, Dr. Dave Stukus turned to relatives for advice.

His brother-in-law suggested Twitter.

Though unfamiliar with the social medium, Stukus took a leap of faith and joined Twitter in 2013, meeting many families where they were going for health information.

“People have done a good job of documenting that not only are people going online for this information but also the amount of bad information out there,” said Stukus, a pediatric allergy and asthma specialist at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus. “There is a lot of snake oil being sold online.”

You can read the full article Health-care providers join social media to dispel misconceptions, offer inspiration.


Social determinants of health: What medical students need to know

June 14, 2019 (American Medical Association)

Where your patients were born, where they work, play and grow older all have a big impact on what their health outcomes will be, with research showing that a person’s overall health is mostly driven by social, economic and environmental factors.

You can read the full article Social determinants of health: What medical students need to know.


The Role of Health Literacy in Diabetes Knowledge, Self-Care, and Glycemic Control: a Meta-analysis

June, 2019 (PubMed)

Health literacy plays a substantial role in diabetes knowledge. Findings for the role of health literacy in self-care and glycemic control remain heterogeneous, partly due to the type of health literacy assessment (performance- vs. perception-based). This has implications for the use of health literacy measures in clinical settings and original research. This meta-analysis was limited to functional health literacy and, due to the paucity of studies, did not investigate the role of other dimensions including communicative and critical health literacy.

Access The Role of Health Literacy in Diabetes Knowledge, Self-Care, and Glycemic Control: a Meta-analysis


An investigation of healthcare utilization and its association with levels of health literacy in individuals with chronic pain

[Journal Article] June, 2019 (PubMed)

Chronic pain patients are frequent and recurrent users of health services, which may have an impact on levels of health literacy (HL). Therefore, the aim of the present study was to investigate associations between healthcare utilization and varying levels of HL in individuals with and without chronic pain.

Access An investigation of healthcare utilization and its association with levels of health literacy in individuals with chronic pain


Never Say ‘Die’: Why So Many Doctors Won’t Break Bad News

June 12, 2019 (Kaiser Health News)

Dr. Ron Naito, an internist in Portland, Ore., was diagnosed with stage 4 pancreatic cancer in August 2018. His doctor wouldn’t confirm the terminal diagnosis, even though Naito read the test results and understood what they meant. (Michael Hanson for KHN)

You can read the full article Never Say ‘Die’: Why So Many Doctors Won’t Break Bad News.


Solicitation for Written Comments on an Updated Health Literacy Definition for Healthy People 2030

June 4, 2019 (Office of the Federal Register)

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) provides notice of a request for comments about the proposed update to the definition of health literacy. The Secretary’s Advisory Committee on National Health Promotion and Disease Prevention Objectives for Healthy People 2030 used the following working definition: “Health literacy occurs when a society provides accurate health information and services that people can easily find, understand, and use to inform their decisions and actions.”

You can read the full announcement Solicitation for Written Comments on an Updated Health Literacy Definition for Healthy People 2030.


New technologies, new disparities: The intersection of electronic health and digital health literacy

May 28, 2019 (International Journal of Cardiology)

Mobile health, or mHealth, is the implementation of digital health services with mobile and wearable devices, and has ample potential to enhance self-management of chronic conditions, especially cardiovascular risk factors… It remains ambiguous, however, whether such technologies can improve cardiovascular outcomes. More importantly, mHealth carries the additional challenge of digital health literacy, which demands particular skills complementary to general and health literacy. Populations at risk for limited health literacy are similarly vulnerable to having challenges with digital health literacy. We identify such challenges and outline solutions to improve access to digital health services and their use for individuals with limited digital health literacy. We present an 18-point “Digital Universal Precautions” as a mandate for health care organizations committed towards addressing and facilitating eHealth literacy.

Access New technologies, new disparities: The intersection of electronic health and digital health literacy


Health literacy, multimorbidity, and patient-perceived treatment burden in individuals with cardiovascular disease. A Danish population-based study

May 15, 2019 (Patient Education and Counseling)

[Journal Article] The aim was to investigate the association between: 1) multimorbidity and high treatment burden 2) health literacy and high treatment burden, and 3) the interaction between multimorbidity and health literacy in relation to high treatment burden.

The study showed that multimorbid individuals with cardiovascular disease were more likely to experience a high treatment burden than individuals with cardiovascular disease only (2+ additional conditions OR 4.16 [2.80-6.18]). Also, individuals with difficulties in understanding health information were more likely to report a high treatment burden than individuals who found it easy to understand information about health (OR 9.97 [6.23-15.95]). Finally, individuals with multimorbidity and difficulties in understanding health information had markedly higher odds of experiencing a high treatment burden.

Access Health literacy, multimorbidity, and patient-perceived treatment burden in individuals with cardiovascular disease. A Danish population-based study


Screening Patients Who Speak Spanish for Low Health Literacy

April, 2019 (HLRP)

[Journal Article] Inadequate health literacy is a national health problem that affects about 90 million people from all racial and ethnic groups in the United States. Conceptual and empirical models of health literacy position language as one of the most significant contributors to health literacy.

Access Screening Patients Who Speak Spanish for Low Health Literacy


A Pilot Project to Increase Health Literacy Among Youth From Seasonal Farmworker Families in Rural Eastern North Carolina: A Qualitative Exploration of Implementation and Impact

April, 2019 (J Med Libr Assoc.)

[Journal Article] There are substantial health inequalities for seasonal agricultural workers and their families in the United States. One identified inequality is in health literacy. The authors explored the implementation and impact of connecting youth from seasonal farmworker families who participated in a leadership and college pipeline program with Internet access by providing a tablet with a paid cellular data plan and university library-based health literacy training.

You can read the full journal article A Pilot Project to Increase Health Literacy Among Youth From Seasonal Farmworker Families in Rural Eastern North Carolina: A Qualitative Exploration of Implementation and Impact.


Health Literacy, Sociodemographic Factors, and Cognitive Training in the Active Study of Older Adults

April, 2019 (PubMed)

[Journal Article] Health literacy is critical for understanding information from health-care providers and correct use of medications and includes the capacity to filter other information in navigating health care systems. Older adults with low health literacy exhibit more chronic health conditions, worse physical functioning, and poorer mental health. This study examined the relationship between sociodemographic variables and health literacy, and the impact of cognitive training on change in health literacy over 10 years in older adults.

You can read the full journal article Health Literacy, Sociodemographic Factors, and Cognitive Training in the Active Study of Older Adults.


Parents’ Use of Technologies for Health Management: A Health Literacy Perspective

March ,9 2019 (PubMed)

Parent use of technology to manage child health issues has the potential to improve access and health outcomes. Few studies have examined how parent health literacy affects usage of Internet and cell phone technologies for health management. Health literacy-associated disparities in parent use of Internet and cell phone technologies exist, but parents’ desire for use of these technologies for provider communication was overall high and did not differ by health literacy.

Access Parents’ Use of Technologies for Health Management: A Health Literacy Perspective


The Need for Cultural Competency and Healthcare Literacy With Refugees

February, 2019 (J Natl Med Assoc.)

[Journal Article] In order to best provide appropriate healthcare to individuals of a variety of ethnic and socio-economic backgrounds, a healthcare provider should be aware of the variables that affect not only an individual’s access to healthcare, but variables that may hinder the patient from navigating the healthcare system effectively. Refugees faces diverse and extensive challenges as they adjust to living in the United States. Collaboration and communication; as well as frequent reassessment of that communication is essential to culturally appropriate care.

You can read the full journal article The Need for Cultural Competency and Healthcare Literacy With Refugees.


Measurement of health literacy in patients with cardiovascular diseases: A systematic review

January 14, 2019 (PubMed)

[Journal Article] While many instruments have been developed, validated, and used to assess health literacy skills, their use and appropriateness among patients with cardiovascular diseases (CVDs) are not widely studied.

Objective: To identify, appraise, and synthesize available health literacy assessment instruments used in patients with CVDs.

Methods: Electronic databases were searched for studies that used validated measures to assess health literacy in patients with CVDs. Included studies were assessed for risk of bias and the identified instruments were evaluated based on their psychometric properties. Data were synthesized using a narrative approach.

Access Measurement of health literacy in patients with cardiovascular diseases: A systematic review


Health Literacy in Substance Use Disorder Treatment: A Latent Profile Analysis

January, 2019 (PubMed)

[Journal Article] Health literacy refers to the degree to which people can access and understand health information, as well as communicate their health needs to service providers. Whilst health literacy is increasingly being examined within general community samples, there is limited research focused on substance use disorders where the need for health literacy is likely to be high. The aim of this study was to examine the health literacy profiles of people attending substance use disorder treatment and to examine how these profiles were related to measures of quality of life, mental health, and physical health.

Access Health Literacy in Substance Use Disorder Treatment: A Latent Profile Analysis


Health Literacy and Clear Bedside Communication: A Curricular Intervention for Internal Medicine Physicians and Medicine Nurses

January 18, 2019 (AAMC)

[Journal Article] Communication remains the backbone of patient-provider relationships, and many health outcomes have been directly attributed to both effective and ineffective communication. We developed an educational intervention to improve bedside communication and increase use of health literacy principles, in part as a response to suboptimal inpatient satisfaction scores.

A brief, low-cost curricular intervention focusing on clear communication skills and health literacy principles resulted in significant improvements in knowledge and attitudes of attending physicians and was readily incorporated by resident physicians and nurses. This curriculum can be easily implemented in a variety of settings to improve bedside patient-physician communication.

Access Health Literacy and Clear Bedside Communication: A Curricular Intervention for Internal Medicine Physicians and Medicine Nurses.


Limited Health Literacy Is Associated With Worse Patient-Reported Outcomes in Inflammatory Bowel Disease

January 1, 2019 (Inflamm Bowel Dis.)

[Journal Article]

Background: Patients with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) face complex health tasks and decisions. Limited health literacy is a risk factor for poor health outcomes, but this has not been examined in IBD. This study aims to assess the role of health literacy for patients with IBD.

Conclusions: Limited health literacy is associated with lower ratings of subjective health and depression in IBD and more symptoms of active disease in patients with Crohn’s disease.

You can read the full journal article Limited Health Literacy Is Associated With Worse Patient-Reported Outcomes in Inflammatory Bowel Disease.


Health Literacy Skills of U.S. Adults

Sep-Oct 2007 (PubMed)

Adults without a high school diploma or GED, with health-related restrictions, with limited access to resources, who are members of minority population groups, and who are immigrants – have lower health literacy skills than do others. The distribution of health literacy is not independent of general literacy skills at population or subpopulation levels.
Access Health Literacy Skills of U.S. Adults


 

Last modified: 04/05/21