Health Literacy

Health Literacy is the degree to which a person has the capacity to obtain, communicate, process, and understand health information and services to make appropriate health decisions [1] .

Health Literacy is important as it shapes peoples long-term health outcomes and the safety and quality of the care they receive [2] . More than 50% of Australians have low health literacy. This means more than half of consumers who access health organisations are unsure of the information provided to them and services available to assist them to make informed decisions about their health [2, 3]. The infrastructure, policies, processes, materials, people and relationships that make up the health system have an impact on the way in which people are able to access, understand, evaluate and apply health-related information and services [2] .
The Gippsland PCPs have been working in the area of health literacy since 2011 delivering a range of capacity building projects with partner organisations.

This work includes:

  • Introduction to Health Literacy training
  • 2-Day Health Literacy Short Course
  • Consumer Led Health Literacy Workshop
  • Health Literacy Forum to present organisational health literacy project outcomes from across Gippsland
  • Mentoring and supporting staff to undertake health literacy improvement projects using the Plan, Do, Study, Act (PDSA) Model [2, 4]
  • A formal academic evaluation of the Gippsland Health Literacy Project in conjunction with Monash University Department of Rural and Indigenous Health

The Gippsland Primary Care Partnerships have created the Gippsland Guide to becoming a Health Literate Organisation. The Guide has been developed specifically to align with the accreditation standards of Gippsland health services and provides tools and resources to support your organisation to become more health literate. Organisational health literacy will result in improved health outcomes for your clients.

  • Download the guide to becoming a health literate organisation here.
  • Download checklist here
  • Download training video here

References

  1. U.S. Department of Health Human Services, Healthy People 2010. Washington, DC: US Government Printing Office. Originally developed for Ratzan SC, Parker RM. 2000. Introduction, in National Library of Medicine Current Bibliographies in Medicine: Health Literacy. Selden CR, Zorn M, Ratzan SC, Parker RM, Editors. NLM Pub. No. CBM. 2000.
  2. Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care, National Statement on Health Literacy: Taking actions to improve safety and quality.