Health Literacy Universal Precautions Toolkit

How can this toolkit help?

Because limited health literacy is common and is hard to recognize, experts recommend using health literacy universal precautions with all patients. The AHRQ Health Literacy Universal Precautions Toolkit provides evidence-based guidance for adult and pediatric practices to reduce the complexity of health care, increase patient understanding of health information, and enhance support for patients of all health literacy levels. This toolkit contains 21 tools (3-5 pages each) and a Quick Start Guide help you assess your practice, raise awareness and work on specific areas to ensure that your patients can succeed in the health care environment.

Start using it today!

Toolkit Contents

Download Entire Toolkit (PDF) This link will provide you with a PDF of the entire toolkit that you can save to your computer. The toolkit links to several Internet-based resources, so an Internet connection is helpful even if you download the PDF.

Looking for the First Edition? Download the Health Literacy Universal Precautions Toolkit First Edition (PDF).



What are others saying about the toolkit?

“Before reviewing this toolkit, we had never heard the term ‘health literacy’. As we assessed our practice and reviewed the tools, we realized that the concerns addressed in this toolkit are things we see and struggle with every day. This toolkit made us more aware of the challenges that our patients face and guided us to make meaningful changes throughout our practice.”

-Office manager, rural family practice clinic


“When we introduced this toolkit to our staff they thought ‘oh great, more responsibilities to cram into our busy day.’ But what we quickly realized is that it is not adding more, it is learning how to do things differently. After implementing some of these tools we really felt like we were more able to connect with our parents about the health of their child.”

-MD, urban pediatric practice

Prepared for the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality,
AHRQ Publication No. 10-0046-EF

Cardiology and Rheumatology

Patients with chronic health conditions such as heart disease and arthritis often have complicated medical regimens and may struggle to understand self-care instructions. As a result, the Health Literacy Universal Precautions Toolkit was adapted for use in Cardiology and Rheumatology practices. In addition to providing a structure for assessing your practice and raising awareness, these two toolkits offer discipline-specific examples for implementing strategies such as teach back, medication adherence and developing and using well-designed written materials. The toolkits offer an additional tool to help coordinate care between practices, “Communicating Care with other Physicians.”

These toolkits can be accessed electronically or downloaded as PDF files.

Last modified: 01/19/21