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.

Health Literacy Missouri - 2008 Annual Report outlines the vision and mission of the project, the current state of health literacy in Missouri, and provides ideas for how organizations can get involved.

The Health Literacy Environment of Hospitals and Health Centersis a guide published by the Harvard School of Public Health.  This resource is geared towards hospital CEOs and senior leadership to take the lead and delegate to the correct committees or individuals the various activities outlined in this guide.  For those organizations that are just getting started, this is an excellent tool to use.

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

Center for Healthcare Strategies series of evidenced-based fact sheets geared towards managers, providers, and patient educators with numerous statistics and quick tips on how to develop and design patient education materials.

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.

Lay Terms for Medical Terminology is a quick reference tool for finding equivalent words or phrasing when creating patient education materials.

Health Literacy Consulting For those looking for an external resource to do a staff workshop day, or just some quick tips on writing, Helen Osborne has a wealth of knowledge and experience to share.

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.

AMA Resource – Patient Centered Communication

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

Compendium of Communication Resources From The Joint Commission

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

Download the report that discusses patient safety concerns in hospitals, LTC, EMS, and home health! EMSForward
Download the FREE report from the Center for Patient Safety that outlines the ten patient safety topics that will move #EMSFORWARD in 2016! EMSForward
Events on June 8, 2016

LTC Advisory Committee Meeting

Location: Teleconference

Events on July 14, 2016

CPS PSO Advisory Committee Meeting

Location: Teleconference

Events on July 18, 2016

Pinnacle EMS Leadership and Management Conference

Location: JW Marriott San Antonio Hill Country Resort & Spa, Resort Parkway, San Antonio, TX

Events on July 18, 2016

Pinnacle EMS


Events on July 18, 2016

Pinnacle EMS Leadership and Management Conference

Location: JW Marriott San Antonio Hill Country Resort & Spa, Resort Parkway, San Antonio, TX