Health Literacy requires empowerment – Results of an analysis of patient needs and the demand for qualification over a 10-year period [Ger]
Patients are expected to be increasingly competent about health issues and participate in decision-making. This makes it necessary to provide high quality patient information at all levels of the health system. This article, by Simoes et al (2013), describes the different approaches used by a women's health service to improve communication with patients about cancer. The health service aimed to provide information that was specific to each patients stage of life and living environment.
Developing cartoons for long-term condition self-management information – 2014 [UK]
This paper, from Kennedy et al (2014), examines if the use of cartoons in patient health information materials can help patients manage their long term conditions. The authors outline the process used to develop and evaluate cartoons and their acceptability for a series of self-management guidebooks for people with inflammatory bowel disease, irritable bowel syndrome, diabetes, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and chronic kidney disease. Kennedy et al concluded that well-designed cartoons can help patients better manage their conditions and help health professionals address health literacy concerns.
The Health Communicator’s Social Media Toolkit 
This guide, from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, provides advice for health professionals on how to use social media to improve the reach of health messages, increase access to your content, further participation with audiences and advance transparency to improve health communication activities. There is no discussion on how to tailor social media messages to patients with limited literacy or English as a Second Language.
Health literacy and numeracy: key factors in cancer risk comprehension – 2008 [US]
Health literacy, including numeracy, is essential to meaningful participation in shared healthcare decision making and has been accepted as a determinant of health. This study, by Donelle et al (2008), examined the influence of prose literacy and numeracy skills, math anxiety, education level on a patient's ability to comprehend Internet-based colorectal cancer prevention information. The findings of this study highlight the importance of presenting web-based information in a way that accommodates diverse health literacy and numeracy levels.
How the stigma of low literacy can impair patient-professional spoken interactions and affect health: insights from a qualitative investigation – 2013 [UK]
Easton et al (2013) interviewed adults with low literacy about their perspectives on access to health care services, self-management of health conditions and health behaviours. Participants reported various difficulties during consultations which had negatively impacted on their broader health care experiences and ability manage their own health conditions. Easton et al (2013) found that low-literacy-related stigma can seriously impair spoken interactions with health professionals and lessen the potential benefits of health services. Health policies increasingly emphasis the need for patients' participation in their own health care. Health professionals therefore need to simplify the literacy requirements of service use and offer non-judgmental (universal) literacy-sensitive support to promote positive healthcare experiences and outcomes.
Health literacy. Editor’s perspective [US]
In this editorial Robert Ferguson discusses the issues around communication with patients, patient health literacy and the communication skills of physicians. Ferguson (2013) notes some of the systemic pressures contributing to decreased communication with patients and the lack of patient communication skills among medical residents. Ferguson (2013) briefly describes the use of the bedside for teaching residents about health literacy issues. Medical residents are guided in these interactions by bedside-experienced faculty members with health literacy awareness skills. This editorial is from the Journal of Community Hospital Internal Medicine Perspectives.
Matching clinical information with levels of patient health literacy [UK]
Good communication between healthcare professionals and patients is central to therapeutic relationships, and patients need to know how to access, understand and make use of services and information to promote and maintain their health. This article, by Jo Protheroe and Gill Rowlands (2013), describes how practising effective communication can improve patient care and how nurses, with their central role in patient advocacy, are well placed to become health literacy champions for their patients and the wider National Health Service. Healthcare professionals should take a ‘universal precautions’ approach to communication with patients, not just when health literacy is obviously low.
Health literacy: How much is lost in translation? [Aus]
This editorial, by Effing et al (2013), provides an introduction to the topic of health literacy within the COPD context. The authors consider health literacy to be of particular concern as a relatively high proportion of the COPD population are older and have a lower socioeconomic status. Effing et al (2013) go on to briefly discuss assessing health literacy in clinical situations and barriers to effective communication with COPD patients. (To open this article click on View on the right hand side)
Impact of communicative and critical health literacy on understanding of diabetes care and self-efficacy in diabetes management: a cross-sectional study of primary care in Japan [Jap]
Inoue et al (2013) examined how health literacy, particularly communicative and critical health literacy, is related to the patient’s understanding of diabetes care and self-efficacy for diabetes management in primary care settings. Inoue et al (2013) also examined the impact of patient–physician communication factors on these outcomes, taking health literacy into account. The researchers found that communicative and critical health literacy and clear patient–physician communication were independently associated with the patient’s understanding of diabetes care and self-efficacy. Inoue et al (2013) recommend that the potential impact of communicative and critical health literacy should be considered in communications with, and the education of, patients with diabetes in primary care settings.
Medication therapy management [US]
In this 2013 TEDx presentation Timothy Ulbrich talks about the evolving role of the community pharmacist and how pharmacists are playing a key role in addressing the US medication crisis. He identifies three issues they have come together to create the ‘Perfect Storm’ in American healthcare: increasing health care costs, barriers to medication adherence and poor communication between providers and between provider and patients. Ulbrich discusses poor health literacy as a contributor to communication issues between providers and patients. Ulbrich considers the pharmacy medication checkup as the critical point where these issues can be identified and addressed.