Health literacy: applying current concepts to improve health services and reduce health inequalities

Batterham, R.W., Hawkins, M., Collins, P.A., Buchbinder, R. and Osborne, R.H. 2016, Health literacy: applying current concepts to improve health services and reduce health inequalities, Public health, vol. 132, pp. 3-12, doi: 10.1016/j.puhe.2016.01.001.

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Title Health literacy: applying current concepts to improve health services and reduce health inequalities
Author(s) Batterham, R.W.ORCID iD for Batterham, R.W.
Hawkins, M.ORCID iD for Hawkins, M.
Collins, P.A.
Buchbinder, R.
Osborne, R.H.ORCID iD for Osborne, R.H.
Journal name Public health
Volume number 132
Start page 3
End page 12
Total pages 10
Publisher Elsevier
Place of publication Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Publication date 2016-03
ISSN 0033-3506
Keyword(s) Delivery of Health Care
Health Literacy
Healthcare Disparities
Summary The concept of 'health literacy' refers to the personal and relational factors that affect a person's ability to acquire, understand and use information about health and health services. For many years, efforts in the development of the concept of health literacy exceeded the development of measurement tools and interventions. Furthermore, the discourse about and development of health literacy in public health and in clinical settings were often substantially different. This paper provides an update about recently developed approaches to measurement that assess health literacy strengths and limitations of individuals and of groups across multiple aspects of health literacy. This advancement in measurement now allows diagnostic and problem-solving approaches to developing responses to identified strengths and limitations. In this paper, we consider how such an approach can be applied across the diverse range of settings in which health literacy has been applied. In particular, we consider some approaches to applying health literacy in the daily practice of health-service providers in many settings, and how new insights and tools--including approaches based on an understanding of diversity of health literacy needs in a target community--can contribute to improvements in practice. Finally, we present a model that attempts to integrate the concept of health literacy with concepts that are often considered to overlap with it. With careful consideration of the distinctions between prevailing concepts, health literacy can be used to complement many fields from individual patient care to community-level development, and from improving compliance to empowering individuals and communities.
Language eng
DOI 10.1016/j.puhe.2016.01.001
Field of Research 111712 Health Promotion
1117 Public Health And Health Services
Socio Economic Objective 929999 Health not elsewhere classified
HERDC Research category C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal
ERA Research output type C Journal article
Copyright notice ©2016, Elsevier
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