Welcome to a re-launch of the CDC Health Literacy blog. The blog is a forum for news, activities and research relevant to health literacy and public health. We aim for weekly posts to keep the information current.
A new contribution to the health literacy field is the Ten Attributes of Health Literate Health Care Organizations. This discussion paper provides steps health care organizations can take to make it easier for people to use the health care system. The Institute of Medicine publicly vetted the idea of health literate attributes in a commissioned white paper and at a November 2011 workshop.
The ten attributes fit with Goals 1, 2 and 4 of the National Action Plan to Improve Health Literacy (Action Plan), which marked its second anniversary in May 2012. The attributes paper lists many of the strategies and actions in the Action Plan and expands the number of actions to reflect new information since the Action Plan was developed.
In addition to the Action Plan, the attributes list draws on other resources and tools that include the
- National Standards on Culturally and Linguistically Appropriate Services
- health literacy items in the Consumer Assessment of Health Plans Survey
- checklists in the Health Literacy Universal Precautions Toolkit
- assessment forms in the guide, The Health Literacy Environment of Hospitals and Health Centers
Our knowledge about how to improve health literacy as a means to improve the quality, safety and outcomes of healthcare services is well-developed and growing steadily. Now we need leading health care organizations to apply the tools and resources in a systematic and comprehensive manner and evaluate and publicly report the results.
Although the body of knowledge about health literacy in public health situations is not as well developed, how can the Ten Attributes of Health Literate Health Care Organizations help public health organizations? How can a health literacy focus improve the quality and safety of public health services and population health outcomes?
Please send us your comments on these questions and suggestions for topics of future blogs.