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Keyword: public health

Evaluating the health literacy burden of Canada’s public advisories: a comparative effectiveness study on clarity and readability – 2013 (Can)

This study examined the health literacy burden of Health Canada Public Advisories (PA) before and after the implementation of a new template. PAs are risk communication tools used to advise the public of urgent and high-risk issues. A new template was introduced in 2010 with the goal of improving quality and accessibility of risk communications. Readability Studio and Suitability Assessment of Materials (SAM) tests were used to assess the readability and clarity of the new template. The researchers found that readability tests rated the majority of the PAs as requiring a college / university education comprehension level (grades 13-15). The SAM test considered a wider range of health literacy factors than the readability test. These factors included presentation, context and images. PAs using the new template scored significantly better. Literacy demands were reduced by 18%, making the new PAs near suitable for limited health literacy individuals. The researchers recommended that drug regulators and the health products industry take health literacy demands into consideration when communicating risk to the public.

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Examining e-Health literacy and the digital divide in an underserved population in Hawai‘i – 2014 [US]

Research has found the amount one benefits from e-Health information is directly related to the level of e-Health literacy. Research conducted by the Pew Research Center found that approximately 74% of adults use the Internet; 80% of those users seek information related to health. This study investigated e-Health literacy and the effects and use of technology, the Internet, and the digital divide among an underserved diabetic patient population in Hawai'i. Focus group interviews were conducted among persons diagnosed with diabetes at a Federally Qualified Health Center. Participants were asked how they felt about technology and how technology affected their health status. The researchers found that 64% of the group had internet access but many did not know how to open an Internet browser or how to search for information online. Only one participant reported going online daily. Consistent across all study participants was the willingness to learn and become more literate with both the computer and e-Health information. Participants stated that if courses were available, they would be willing to attend. The researchers found that results of this study are consistent with several other studies that have examined the use of the Internet for e-Health information in underserved communities. The researchers suggest that the digital divide does exist. It is a public health issue that people are excluded from benefiting from the Internet and denied the use and understanding of health information that can help manage and improve health conditions. The researchers recommend that a multi-pronged communication and education strategy is needed to explore how technology can improve e-Health literacy and health outcomes among underserved populations. This strategy needs to include mobile devices and desktop computers.

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National Literacy Trust Hubs: Understanding the role of literacy in public health – 2015 [UK]

This paper from the UK National Literacy Trust argues that low literacy negatively impacts on the health of communities. The inability to access and interpret information stemming from a lack of basic skills presents individuals with challenge managing their own health. As a result, health literacy skills should be considered an integral part of any public health strategy, and it is essential that literacy skills underpin such strategies. The researchers argue that improving health literacy will empower communities, reduce health inequalities, and reduce pressure on public services. This paper reviews broad themes from the World Health Organisation’s paper ‘Health Literacy: the solid facts’, to draw out emerging principals for effective health literacy strategies, emphasising local area approaches in this field. This paper then examines the National Literacy Trust Hubs and discusses the National Literacy Trust's work on a shared public health agenda with health providers and other community partners.

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Predictors of eHealth usage: Insights on the digital divide from the Health Information National Trends Survey 2012 – 2014 [US]

This study examined eHealth use by sociodemographic factors, such as race/ethnicity, socioeconomic status , age, and sex using data from National Cancer Institute’s 2012 Health Information National Trends Survey (HINTS). The researchers found no evidence of a digital use divide by race/ethnicity. However, there were significant differences in use by socioeconomic status, particularly for health care and health information–seeking items. Patients with lower levels of education had significantly lower odds of going online to look for a health care provider, using email or the Internet to communicate with a doctor, tracking their personal health information online, using a website to help manage diet and exercise, or downloading health information to a mobile device. The researchers concluded that demographic and individual factors have significant influence on eHealth engagement. For this reason public health campaigners need to use a variety of web platforms and eHealth interventions to target hard-to-reach groups and bridge the digital divide.

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Low health literacy and evaluation of online health information. A systematic review of the literature – 2015 [Net]

This study aimed to review the existing evidence on the association between low health literacy and people's ability to evaluate the quality of online health information. 38 studies were reviewed. These indicated that low health literacy (and related skills) are negatively related to the ability to evaluate online health information and trust in online health information. Individuals with limited health literacy use evaluation criteria that do not correspond to the well-established quality criteria. The researchers concluded that public health officials and health care providers should pay attention to developing the information seeking and evaluation behaviors of patients with low health literacy and educate the on best practices when seeking and evaluating online health information.

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HackHealth. You only live once [US]

HackHealth is a 12-weeks after-school program. This project investigated ways to increase tweens’ interest in the health sciences and develop their health literacy skills with the goal of improving their long term health outcomes. Researchers from the University of Maryland worked with school librarians in selected middle schools to lead after-school sessions that engaged disadvantaged youth in (a) conducting scientific inquiry into health maintenance and/or disease prevention and management; (b) acting as health information intermediaries; and (c) taking action based on what they learn. The HackHealth curriculum includes 8 modules designed to build youth health literacy and information management skills. The curriculum documents and resources can be downloaded.

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Health Literacy Review: A Guide – 2015 [NZ]

This resource, by the Ministry of Health, is designed to help New Zealand health care providers build a system that supports the needs of all consumers. Workbase led the development and trial of the Guide with two DHBs and a PHO. The Guide is supported by a wealth of other information, videos and templates about how the different organisations went about the literacy reviews. The Ministry has also published a Health Literacy Framework for use alongside this the Guide. Topics: * An introduction to health literacy reviews * Health literacy review case studies * Preparing for a review * Carrying out the review * Developing an action plan * International evidence base * International experts

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Informed Consent and Health Literacy: Workshop Summary – 2015 [US]

This document (193 pages), from the Institute of Medicine, summarises the outcomes of a workshop on informed consent and health literacy. This workshop explored what actions can be taken to help close the gap between what is required in the informed consent process and communicating it in a health-literate and meaningful manner to individuals. Topics covered include: an overview of key issues in informed consent, research into informed consent, approaches to informed consent, best practices and new models of health literacy for informed consent.

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Implications of Health Literacy for Public Health – Workshop Summary – 2014 [US]

This is the summary of the presentations from the 2013 Institute of Medicine's Implications of Health Literacy for Public Health workshop. The workshop was moderated by Roundtable Chair George Isham. Chapter 2 frames health literacy in the context of public health. Chapter 3 describes public health literacy efforts in three states. In Chapter 4, how health literacy facilitates public health activity is further explored. Chapter 5 covers public health literacy implementation and research. Chapter 6 follows with a general discussion of the day’s proceedings.

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A Prescription Is Not Enough: Improving Public Health with Health Literacy (PDF of presentation). Andrew Pleasant – 2013 [US]

This is the presentation that accompanied the unveiling of Pleasant et al's paper "A Prescription Is Not Enough: Improving Public Health with Health Literacy". This paper was commissioned by the Institute of Medicine Roundtable on Health Literacy for their workshop "Implications of Health Literacy for Public Health: A Workshop" (November 21, 2013 in Irvine, California).

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