Health literacy interventions
- Interventions that enable individuals to obtain, process, and understand basic health information and services required to make appropriate health decisions
- Approaches are based on improving patient-provider communication and simplifying health information through out-reach, patient navigation, translation from english and eHealth interventions
- These approaches can be delivered by various health care providers, clinic staff, and public health professionals
Strength of evidence
Evidence level: Strong (second-highest tier)
Strong (second-highest tier)
Ranked as having the second-highest level of evidence in County Health Rankings and Roadmaps "What Works for Health" clearinghouse
Outcomes and impact
- Improved health-related knowledge and adherence to treatment
- Improved patient-provider communication
- Improved mental health
- Increased patient satisfaction
Keys to successful implementation
- Local public health leadership should make health literacy integral to department mission, structure, and operations. Health literacy strategies should be integrated into all planning, evaluation, and patient safety measures.
- Programs should be targeted to specific groups (elderly individuals, teen mothers, low income families, non-English speaking families) in order to provide targeted solutions.
- Partnerships with primary health care workers, nurses and physicians, who tend to be the first responders to health needs, are effective in introducing health literacy in the community.
- Health literacy interventions that combine multiple components and approaches (visual materials, video tutorials, health literacy training for physicians, and in-person patient assessments) are shown to increase patients’ comprehension and appropriate use of health care.
- Tailoring interventions to minorities, those with low levels of education, with limited experience with computers, or those with language barriers can also promote patient engagement and increase health literacy.
- An expected challenge can be that health care providers may not be able to accurately identify patients’ health literacy limitations. Time limitations per patient can also hinder good provider-patient engagement.