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Best Examples of Health Literacy in Practice
The importance of health literacy is increasingly recognized as a vital component of patient-centered care. Studies have shown that healthcare professionals who can use various health-related materials improve their patients’ health outcomes—however, the challenges in assessing health literacy remain.
Many measures are available, some of which are better suited for research purposes. Listed below are some best examples of health literacy in practice.
Measures of health literacy in practice
As a practical tool for health professionals, measures of health literacy must be developed that are relevant to the clinical or public health context and reflect the complex relationship between knowledge, attitudes, and behaviors.
Ideally, health literacy measures should include a framework agreed upon by the community and include both public health and clinical outcomes. For this purpose, telephone assessments should be considered. In addition, the measure should be developed based on the same theoretical basis.
The process of measuring health literacy is as important as the measure itself. Therefore, it is critical to remember the broader context of health literacy when building the measure. For example, longitudinal studies require measures to document changes in health literacy over time.
These studies may include the same participants but may differ in the types of health information that they require or assess. However, a change in health literacy cannot be determined in the absence of a measure.
In addition, health literacy can be included in quality measures such as Joint Commission (JC) ratings. The Joint Commission focuses on health literacy and its relationship to language and culture. However, the organization has not yet examined the relationship between health literacy and behavioral health issues. The health system has a high percentage of older patients with multiple chronic conditions and a high rate of behavioral health diagnoses. Adding health literacy to the quality measurement process is essential to improve health outcomes.
It is imperative to collect national health literacy data for a comprehensive national picture of the state of health and population. These data can be used to design effective health interventions. Unfortunately, ninety percent of the population lacks the skills to make appropriate health decisions. As a result, healthcare professionals must develop strategies to improve the skills of this population. This is where NAAL questions can help.
The data from NAAL surveys are limited, but they are helpful as a starting point. In the health care system, there are various ways to measure health literacy. Some of these measures focus on reading ability, level of language difficulty, and other standardized health metrics. Fortunately, a relatively comprehensive measure can accommodate many different needs. Fortunately, several measures are currently being used, including the REALM and TOFHLA. However, the research community still needs more information to determine which health literacy tools best for the practice setting.
The concept of health literacy is not new. It was first developed as a concept associated with individual capabilities to access health care, interact with health care providers, and make appropriate health decisions. Nonetheless, there is no consensus on the definition of health literacy, and the most commonly used instruments focus on individual capability rather than the health care system. Moreover, health literacy is a multidimensional concept that is influenced by the context and the demands of a health system.
Strategies to improve health literacy
Healthcare professionals must develop strategies to improve health literacy to ensure high-quality patient care. These strategies may involve individual interventions or system-level changes. However, implementing them requires coordinated efforts by multiple stakeholders.
When implemented effectively, these strategies improve health literacy and accessibility of health care for millions of Americans. Here are five strategies for improving health literacy in practice. These strategies focus on the accessibility of health information and materials, communication skills of health professionals, and institutional characteristics that promote patient engagement.
To improve health literacy, practitioners should tailor their materials to the needs of the population they serve. Developing materials and programs that target a specific population can improve health literacy. Health literacy research should be conducted to develop such materials. It may also be helpful to involve community members in developing health literacy programs and materials. Ultimately, health literacy can be improved by including the community in these programs.
This can also lead to a better understanding of the needs and interests of diverse populations. A person with high health literacy understands the link between smoking and cancer risks. They also recognize symptoms of chronic diseases and know how to prevent them. Lack of health literacy can undermine patients’ trust in the medical system and increase their chances of experiencing health complications. This is why improving health literacy in patients is critical to improving their health outcomes. These strategies should be applied to multiple contexts in practice. This will ensure that a population is empowered to respond to new health challenges in the future.
The Affordable Care Act mandated the implementation of health plan assister programs in the state insurance exchanges. Through these programs, health literacy educators facilitated the enrollment process of patients in the health exchanges. They were also instrumental in helping patients choose health plans and obtain coverage. The cascade effect of these interventions began with one change and increased patient engagement. These strategies, however, do not work for every patient. Nevertheless, they may be an essential part of a provider’s practice.
The World Health Organization defines health literacy as an individual’s ability to understand fundamental health issues and apply them to their own lives. For example, people with high health literacy can recognize the relationship between smoking and cancer risk. They may also know the primary symptoms of chronic diseases. Health literacy improves their overall health, leading to better self-care and better outcomes. The healthcare system has the primary responsibility to promote health literacy. However, improving health literacy has a high cost.
Despite the importance of improving patient education, barriers to health literacy often lead to miscommunication and under-treatment. It is up to physicians to bridge this gap by ensuring that patients are well-informed about their health conditions. There are a variety of practical approaches for improving health literacy in practice. These include educational materials, patient education, and eHealth interventions. In addition, the healthcare profession should lead efforts to ensure that patients are fully informed about preventative health care measures and current problems facing the nation.
Examples of health literacy in practice
In this study, we sought to explore the relationship between self-management and the development of health literacy skills in a patient education group. We examined whether the participants’ self-management strategies were motivated by emotional factors and the potential for developing health literacy skills.
We found that participant 5EP engaged in self-management by seeking information about his condition and limiting his emotional response to future difficulties. Examples of health literacy in practice are found in various clinical settings, including primary care clinics, hospitals, and home health services.
The Public Health Agency has been working with the Centre for Health Promotion Research at the University of British Columbia to compile peer-nominated examples of important health literacy initiatives in Canada. These examples cover various health topics and target populations. The examples in the resource have been chosen to raise health literacy awareness and have been categorized by their goals and practices. These resources can serve as valuable resources for practitioners and policymakers alike. Here are a few of the key features of health literacy initiatives.
The earliest definitions of health literacy focused on how well individuals read and comprehend health-related information. Today, health literacy is often defined as the ability to understand and process information and make informed decisions about their health. Health literacy is crucial for the patient and caregiver in a healthcare context. The definition of health literacy includes other factors, such as motivation and competencies. The research findings have implications for organizations, policymakers, and the health care system.
Despite its widespread importance, many healthcare organizations fail to evaluate health literacy in their patients. Most health-related information is written at an eighth-grade reading level. In these situations, health-literacy assessments should be conducted in clinical settings. Whether patients are adults with a high health literacy or low literacy level, health care professionals should be aware of their reading level and make sure they are getting the information they need. The patient’s health will depend on how well their healthcare provider communicates with them.
Developing health-literacy skills is crucial for achieving the goals of diabetes care. The Department of Health Education and Promotion started a three-year initiative to improve diabetics’ health in Israel in the Israeli context. The program also aims to empower patients through their improved health literacy. In other words, the health system will be more effective if it helps patients understand and utilize information. The future of diabetes care in Israel depends on addressing health literacy.
A health-literate organization relies on community partners to enhance patient engagement. Health care organizations working with community partners can provide better access to resources and help educate community-based organizations to improve patient health literacy. Health literate organizations model health literacy by integrating it into every aspect of their planning and delivery. For example, health literacy programs can help clinics improve patient engagement. For the health-literate organization to reach this goal, it should model leadership and integrate health literacy into all aspects of its initiatives.