Health Literacy

 On this page you will find some key research findings and resources on health literacy.

Key Health Literacy Research Findings

  • We must not blame the individual for not understanding information that has not been made clear.
  • Everyone, no matter how educated, is at risk for misunderstanding health information if the topic is emotionally charged or complex.
  • In almost all cases, physicians and other health professionals try to, and believe they are, communicating accurate information.
  • In some cases, patients may believe they have understood directions but may be embarrassed to ask questions to confirm their understanding.
  • Health care organizations and their systems and procedures have a significant role to play in ensuring understanding in the health care setting.
  • It is increasingly difficult for people to separate evidence based information, especially online, from misleading ads and gimmicks.
  • The communication of “risk” in an effective and fair way continues to be a challenge for both the provider and the patient.
  • There are additional challenges in understanding how to select insurance plans and benefits, especially for those who have not previously been insured.

Health Literacy Resources from NIH and Other HHS Agencies 

Health Care Community Resources

Training and Toolkits

This page last reviewed on August 26, 2020