Health Literacy

What is health literacy?

According to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010, Title V, defines health literacy as the degree to which an individual has the capacity to obtain, communicate, process, and understand basic health information and services to make appropriate health decisions.

Why does health literacy matter to me?

As a healthcare provider you are privileged to have direct patient contact and it is important to remember the many different backgrounds and current living conditions that different people encounter. According to the CDC, health literacy skills are needed to:

-help people find information and services
-communicate about health and healthcare
-process what people are explicitly and implicitly asking for
-understand how to provide useful information and services
-decide which information and services work best for different situations and people so they can act.

Learn About Health Literacy. (2015, April 10). Retrieved September 21, 2015.

Health Literacy Kentucky
Teaching PowerPoint, practice scenarios and several handouts.

Health Resources and Services Administration (HSRA)
Free online course consisting of 5 modules that takes approximately 5 hours to complete.

Center for Disease Control (CDC)
Free online course along with more educational materials.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
Free information on how to use clear communication.

Joint Commission (JCAHO)
Facts about patient centered communication, reports and how to talk to different groups.