According to the report Healthy People 20101, health literacy is the “degree to which individuals have the capacity to obtain, process, and understand basic health information and services needed to make appropriate health decisions.” The National Network of Libraries of Medicine explains that this “includes the ability to understand instructions on prescription drug bottles, appointment slips, medical education brochures, doctor’s directions and consent forms, and the ability to negotiate complex health care systems.” Research has demonstrated that the lower an individual’s health literacy level, the higher the utilization rate of hospitalizations and emergency health services.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has launched a “National Action Plan to Improve Health Literacy,” which seeks “to engage organizations, professionals, policymakers, communities, individuals, and families in a linked, multisector effort to improve health literacy.”
The Eccles Health Sciences Library and the Health Literacy Interest Group are offering two webinars on this topic this spring, one on health literacy itself, and the second on the National Action Plan. Here are the details:
- When: March 17, 2011
- Time: 10:00 – 11:00 a.m.
- Where: HSEB 4100 B & C
- Info: Poor health literacy is a major issue in the United States. We see examples of how it affects patients, providers, and the healthcare system every day. This session will look at some of the problems created by poor health literacy, discuss programs and ideas to help improve it on both the patient and provider side, and review some solutions. The upcoming IHA Health Literacy Conference will be reviewed, as well as a discussion of the National Action Plan to Improve Health Literacy.
- When: May 4, 2011
- Time: 1:00 – 2:30 p.m.
- Where: HSEB 4100 B & C
- Info: The Institute for Healthcare Advancement is hosting its 10th Annual Health Literacy Conference: “Health Literacy = Effective Communication: Translating Ideas Into Practice” May 4-6, 2011 in Irvine, California. You can attend a pre-conference session “virtually” to discuss the National Action Plan to Improve Health Literacy. Join in the social media discussion and hear how other organizations around the country are using the National Action Plan, and join the discussion with information about what you’re doing or suggestions for others.
Both webinars are FREE, and faculty, staff and students are welcome to attend.
¹U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. 2000. Healthy People 2010. 2nd ed. With Understanding and Improving Health and Objectives for Improving Health. 2 vols. Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office.