Health Literacy

Health literacy is an important topic with a high level of influence on patient safety and is an area of importance to healthcare providers and citizens.


The Center for Patient Safety has compiled the following list of quick and helpful resources on the topic of Health Literacy, as a source for providers to assess their status in relation to health literacy, to assist in educating staff and providers; and assessment tools to determine health literacy skill levels.

Health Literacy Missouri has identified over 10,000 health literacy resources, classified each resource by type, and are in the process of developing criteria for evaluating those resources.

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has several resources available, including how to evaluate your organization and devise an action plan for improvement, improve the usability of health information, learn how to advocate for health literacy in your organization, and many more.

Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality has funded several health literacy studies, and also has a variety of resources.

AHRQ Health Literacy Universal Precautions Toolkit
Helps primary care practices reduce the complexity of health care, increase patient understanding of health information, and enhance support for patients of all health literacy levels.

Free research articles:

Language, Literacy, and Communication Regarding Medication in an Anticoagulation Clinic:  Are Pictures Better Than Words?

Preventing Medication Errors in Ambulatory Care: The Importance of Establishing Regimen Concordance

Speaking Plainly: Communicating the Patient's Role in Health Care Safety

The Newest Vital Sign is a health literacy assessment tool for providers to assess their patients in less than 3 minutes.  It has been tested on over 1,000 patients, and addresses limitations of other instruments.  You can order your free copy of the package from this website, and read the peer-reviewed article.

North Carolina Program on Health Literacy has a variety of other assessment tools useful both in research and clinic settings.

California Health Literacy Initiative Scroll down half way on the Resource Center page and you will find a variety of links to health literacy information and resources.

Health Disparities Toolkit Health Research and Educational Trust

HRSA Health Literacy Resources Resources and interactive training course on health literacy, cultural competency and limited English proficiency

Intersection: How to Talk to your Doc (KBIA Radio)


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The Center for Patient Safety believes that collaboration and sharing are the best ways to drive improvement. We strive to provide the right solutions and resources to improve healthcare safety and quality.