Assess Health Literacy in Your Organization
Your organization can’t address its health literacy issues if it doesn’t know its current situation. It’s easy to make assumptions, but you need data. Do an honest assessment to identify opportunities and barriers to make progress on health literacy.
As you conduct your assessment, engage multiple stakeholders, and choose from these tools to help you get started.
Resources for Organizations
General Assessment Tools
- Pharmacy Health Literacy Assessment Tool (Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, 2007)
- AHRQ Health Literacy Universal Precautions Toolkit (Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, 2010)
- The Health Literacy Environment of Hospitals and Health Centers – Partners for Action: Making Your Healthcare Facility Literacy-Friendly (Harvard School of Public Health, 2006)
- Building Health Literate Organizations: A Guidebook to Achieving Organizational Change (Unity Point Health, 2014)
Train the workforce
See our Find Training page for training opportunities in health literacy, plain language, and culture and communication
Develop materials that are easy to understand and act on
- Federal Plain Language Guidelines (The Plain Language Action and Information Network)
- Full Index Score Sheet [694 KB, 7 pages] (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)
See our Develop Materials section for additional guidance and resources for preparing materials to address health literacy
Meet the needs of audiences with a range of health literacy skills
- AHRQ Health Literacy Universal Precautions Toolkit (Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality 2010)
- National Culturally and Linguistically Appropriate Services (CLAS) Standards ( HHS Office of Minority Health) can help organizations address the cultural and language differences between the people who provide information and services and the people they serve.
- Questions are the Answer (Agency for Healthcare Research & Quality 2009)
Provide easy access to health information and services
See the resources below for information about accessible and usable health information (IT), including Web sites.
- Accessible Health Information Technology (IT) for Populations with Limited Literacy: A Guide for Developers and Purchasers of Health IT (HHS AHRQ National Resource Center for Health IT 2007)
- NIH National Library of Medicine Evidence-based Practice and Health Technology Assessment Links to Resources (NIH National Library of Medicine 2011)
- Federal usability information
See the resources below for information on how to improve the readability of consent forms and other print materials for health care research study participants.
- Program for Readability in Science & Medicine (PRISM) (Group Health Research Institute)
- AHRQ Informed Consent and Authorization Toolkit for Minimal Risk Research (HHS Agency for Healthcare Research & Quality 2009)
See Evaluate Skills & Programs for assessment tools to identify health literacy issues in your organization.
Communicate clearly during crises and emergencies
- Crisis & Emergency Risk Communication (CERC) (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)
- Crisis and Emergency Risk Messaging in Mass Media News Stories: Is the Public Getting the Information They Need to Protect Their Health?
- Page last reviewed: December 13, 2016
- Page last updated: December 13, 2016
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