Understanding Health Literacy
People of all ages, races, incomes, and education levels can find it difficult to obtain, communicate, process and understand health information and services. Literacy skills are only a part of health literacy. Even people with strong reading and writing skills can face health literacy challenges when
- They are not familiar with medical terms or how their bodies work.
- They have to interpret or calculate numbers or risks that could have immediate effects on their health and safety.
- They are diagnosed with a serious illness and are scared or confused.
- They have health conditions that require complicated self-care.
- They are voting on a critical local issue affecting the community's health and are relying on unfamiliar technical information.
Organizations and individuals in a variety of different roles are key stakeholders who can help improve health literacy at national, state, tribal and local levels. These include:
- Food, drug, and medical device producers and distributors
Educators and Community
- Community service providers
- Early childhood administrators, managers, and policymakers
- Educational administrators, managers, and policymakers (K–12 and university)
- Health communicators and educators
- Health information and library professionals
Government and Public Health
- Government agencies
- Government health care purchasers
- Public health officials
- Public health professionals
Health Care and Payors
- Health care executives
- Health care facilities
- Health care providers
- Health care teams
- Health plans
Media, Journals and Information Producers
- Print, audiovisual, and electronic media
- Professional journals
- Commercial, academic, and nonprofit producers of health and safety information
- Accreditation organizations
- Licensing and credentialing organizations
- Philanthropic, nonprofit, voluntary, advocacy, academic, and professional organizations
Researchers, Evaluators and Funders