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Health Literacy Resources

Use this guide to locate Web resources related to health literacy, and health communications

Literacy & Health Outcomes Reports

Language Barriers and Illiteracy Can Affect Patient Health Care: This project studied the effects of illiteracy on patient-provider interactions.

Literacy and Health Outcomes: an updated systematic review from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. A summary of the systematic review that discusses the relationship between literacy and health outcomes and the evidence about interventions intended to improve the health of people with low literacy.

Health Literacy Guides & Reports

America's Health Literacy: Why We Need Accessible Health Information: A brief that summarizes key findings and presents some policy implications of the first National Assessment of Adult Literacy (NAAL). 

Assessing the Nation’s Health Literacy: This report summarizes the key concepts and findings of the National Assessment of Adult Literacy (NAAL). 

Health Literacy Action Guide: This guide is for health professionals, educators, policy makers and advocates who wish to improve individual and population health literacy. It summarizes current knowledge on why health literacy is important and how we can improve health literacy.

Health Literacy of America’s Adults: Results from the 2003 National Assessment of Adult Literacy: Health literacy was reported using four performance levels: Below Basic, Basic, Intermediate, and Proficient. The majority of adults (53%) had Intermediate health literacy. Relationships between health literacy and background variables were also examined and reported. 

Health Literacy: A Prescription to End Confusion: This report, from the Institute of Medicine, examines the body of knowledge that applies to the field of health literacy, and recommends actions to promote a health literate society.

Health Literacy: Report of the Council on Scientific Affairs: Recognizing that poor literacy is both common and complex, the American Medical Association (AMA) Council on Scientific Affairs asked an ad hoc committee of experts to investigate the subject. This report describes (1) the consequences of poor literacy in health care settings; (2) the implications of the problem for practicing physicians; (3) important research issues; and (4) the ramifications of poor literacy for the US health care system. 

Improving Health Literacy for Older Adults: This report assesses health literacy issues among older adults and identifies opportunities for health professionals to better meet the health communication needs of older adults.

Low Health Literacy: Implications for National Health Policy: This report discusses the financial implications of health literacy and the need for public policy interventions. 

More Reports: Health literacy reports available through The National Academies Press.

Thank You

Thank you to Adrianne Leonardelli and the Duke University Medical Center Library. The Lamar Soutter Library Health Literacy Resource Guide was based on information from the Duke University Medical Center Guide on Health Literacy.

Health Literacy: A Prescription to End Confusion

Universal Precautions Toolkit

Universal Precautions Toolkit: From the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ). The toolkit offers primary care practices a way to assess their services for health literacy considerations, raise awareness of the entire staff, and work on specific areas.