There is a growing body of research and practice around the field of health literacy. Limited health literacy is associated with worse health outcomes, so it is important that health professionals be aware of best practices and to utilize strategies and resources to help improve health literacy skills for themselves and for their patients. This page is designed to help you continue your learning about health literacy and includes information about:
Limited health literacy is common but can be hard to recognize. Experts recommend using health literacy universal precautions by always presenting health information to patients and their families in a clear and easy manner. The precautions also stress the importance of providing a shame-free environment. These precautions aim to:
Some health literacy instruments are best suited for research. Others are preferred in a clinical setting, as they can be administered quickly. The resources and tools below can help you identify which assessment tools will meet your needs.
The Health Literacy Tool Shed by Boston University is an online database of health literacy measures. These measures, including their psychometric properties, are based on a review of the peer-reviewed literature. You can find health literacy measurement tools to meet your needs.
Members of the Health Literacy team at HSL have compiled the following collection of presentations on health literacy. We welcome you to use any of the presentation slides. Please credit the noted study authors and presentation creators as appropriate.
Helen Osborne, M.Ed., is a health literacy expert and the founder of Health Literacy Month. In keeping with today’s trends and technology, Helen produces and hosts the podcast series Health Literacy Out Loud – podcast interviews with those in-the-know about health literacy. You will hear why health literacy matters and learn practical ways to help.
Outlines the basics and importance of health literacy, including strategies on how to overcome communication barriers. It also highlights the Teach-Back method and Plain Language techniques, and provides examples.
Includes 30 slides that can be delivered in 30-45 minutes to a group or as a self-study program. It comes with speaker’s notes. The content promotes the understanding of what health literacy is and how it affects patients. It also covers select practical strategies that can help practices do a better job caring for people with low health literacy.
An introduction to the justifications, needs, history and impact health literacy plays within the complex facets of healthcare. This one hour video is from the 17th Annual Health Literacy Conference titled Strengthening Communities to Improve Health Equity and Health Literacy.
The following journal articles on health literacy are listed in chronological order. They are automatically updated from PubMed.
The Network of the National Library of Medicine provides free continuing education for librarians on a variety of topics including consumer health and health literacy.
Terri Ottosen from UNC Health Sciences Library presented at the NC Live Annual Conference in May 2022 about the role of librarians in Providing Good Health Information and Health Literacy Skills Development. Download the PDF Handout: Handout Helping People Live Healthy Lives
The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC) Health Sciences Library (HSL), part of the University Libraries, implemented a training program for library staff, students, and the public using and adapting the NNLM Engage for Health curriculum, and the Middle Atlantic Region of NNLM’s class, entitled, “Patient Empowerment: Using Health Information Resources to Improve Health Communication.”
This post from ALAnews shares information about the We Can Do This campaign about COVID-19 vaccines. The article includes links to resources librarians can share with their communities.
This resource curated by the CDC provides links to trainings about Mental Health Literacy.