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Improving Health Literacy: Improving Health Communication

Provides information and resources on improving health communication.


"The degree to which individuals have the capacity to obtain, process, and understand basic health information and services needed to make appropriate health decisions".
-Healthy People 2010

"Health literacy is a shared responsibility between patients (or anyone on the receiving end of health communication) and providers (or anyone on the giving end of health communication. Each must communicate in ways the other can understand."
-Helen Osborne of Health Literacy Consulting and Health Literacy Month.




Michigan Health Literacy Awareness Training Program

"This project has been funded in whole or in part with Federal funds from the National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health, Department of Health and Human Services, under Contract No. N01-LM-6-3503 with the University of Illinois at Chicago.” 

Links to Original Data Sources

National Assessment of Adult Literacy, 2003, is a nationally representative and continuing assessment of English literacy among American adults age 16 and older.  This is the premier source for statistics on adult illiteracy.  A new resource on that site provides  "Indirect County and State Estimates of the Percentage of Adults at the Lowest Literacy Level for 1992 and 2003".  This is the source others cite.

Another report from NAAL released in May, 2009:  Basic Reading Skills and the Literacy of the America's Least Literate Adults: Results from the 2003 National Assessment of Adult Literacy (NAAL) Supplemental Studies

The NAAL Issue Brief entitled, “America's Health Literacy: Why We Need Accessible Health Information” is now online. This brief summarizes key findings and presents some policy implications of the first ever National Assessment of Adult Literacy (NAAL).

 The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Commission to Build a Healthier America provides a web site of their reports, data tables, etc, and is an excellent source of information on the issue of differences in health based on levels of education.  State specific data and slides are available on line.

Overviews of Health Literacy and Its Impact

Excellent sourced data can be located at Health Literacy Innovations

AMA Foundation's a manual for clinicians (PDF) can be downloaded and offers continuing education credits. It contains an excellent narriative on the NAAL and the implications of limited health literacy.

The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) presents Literacy and Health Outcomes among its EPC Evidence Reports.  Visitors can read the summary or link out to the full text of the report.

What Did the Doctor Say? Improving Health Literacy to protect Patient Safety. The Joint Commission 2007.

Adult Literacy in America: A first look at the findings of the national Adult Literacy Survey

Health Literacy Literature

This is an RSS feed from a saved "health literacy" search in PubMed. Article abstracts can be viewed by hovering over the links.

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