Health Care Providers and Systems

What You Need to Know

Health care providers are a community’s gateway to many health services. Providers, health care systems, and pharmacists are also trusted sources of information for many people. The resources on this page can help you recognize and respond to patients’ information and communication needs. The resources may also help other individuals and organizations identify common interests and opportunities to work with health care providers, health services organizations, and pharmacists.

Health Care Providers and Clinicians

  • HHS Child and Adolescent Health Emergency Planning Toolkit (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services 2023)
    Health care providers and public health professionals who serve children and teens with special health care needs can use this toolkit to help patients and their families access high-quality services before, during, and after an emergency. The toolkit includes a module on communication.
  • Improving Healthcare Access for Deaf and Hard of Hearing Individuals (Rhode Island Commission on the Deaf and Hard of Hearing [RICDHH])
    As part of RICDHH’s Healthcare System Transformation Project, six Deaf and Hard of Hearing (DHH) health professionals developed videos to help their colleagues better understand how to provide health services to the DHH community. The interview with Dr. Michael McKee includes discussions of health information accessibility, health literacy, health disparities, and telehealth.
  • Providing Health Literate Virtual Health Services: Proceedings of a Workshop—in Brief (National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine 2022)
    These proceedings summarize strategies for delivering health-literate virtual health services. The proceedings also summarize best practices for helping to ensure that people with low health literacy can get, understand, and act on health information and services provided via telehealth.
  • health care provider gives vaccine to woman

    Clear communication between providers and patients can lead to better health outcomes, such as vaccine confidence.

    Health Literacy and Clear Communication Best Practices for Telemedicine (Coleman, Health Literacy Research and Practice 2020)
    This article describes best practices for telephonic and two-way video encounters between providers and patients.

Health Care Systems and Facilities

  • Creating a Culture of Health (The District of Columbia Healthy Communities Collaborative 2019)
    This document, developed via a collaboration among local hospitals, community health centers, and community members, includes strategies to improve health literacy, mental health, place-based care, and care coordination.
  • Health Literacy Universal Precautions Toolkit (Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality 2010)
    This toolkit can help primary care practices reduce the complexity of health care, increase patient understanding of health information, and enhance support for patients of all health literacy levels.

Pharmacies and Pharmacists

Pharmacist explaining information to customer

Pharmacists are often sources of health information.

  • AHRQ Pharmacy Health Literacy Center (Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality 2013)
    This site provides pharmacists with health literacy tools and other resources from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. You may want to explore the entire site or these pages:
    • Explicit and Standardized Prescription Medicine Instructions, tested instructions for pills that follow the Universal Medication Schedule (UMS). The UMS simplifies complex medicine regimens by using standard time periods for administration (morning, noon, evening, and bedtime). Translated instructions provided in Chinese, Korean, Russian, Spanish, and Vietnamese.
    • Health Literacy Tools for Providers of Medication Therapy Management, a set of tools designed to improve communication with patients enrolled in medication therapy management, a patient-centric and comprehensive approach to improve medication use, reduce the risk of adverse events, and improve medication adherence.