Health literacy is about how people understand information about health and health care, and how they apply that information to their lives. It’s important because it shapes people’s health, safety, and quality of care.
Improving health communication can improve health outcomes.
In 2014, the Australian government released the National Statement on Health Literacy. This urged people to take action on health literacy by:
It explains that in order for people and health care teams to work together for better health, everyone needs to be able to give and receive, interpret and act on information such as treatment options and plans. When we get this right, we can begin to improve the safety and quality of health care, and even reduce health disparities and increase equity.
Individual health Literacy
The skills, knowledge, motivation and capacity of a person to access, understand, appraise and apply information to make effective decisions about health and health care and take appropriate action.
Organisational health literacy
The infrastructure, policies, processes, materials and people that make up the health system and have an impact on the way that people access, understand, appraise and apply health-related information and services.
Research tells us that by improving organisational health literacy and the way we communicate, we can make an impact on:
This project is working to improve the way we communicate in three main areas:
Contact the Health Literacy Team to learn more about health literacy, or to book a health literacy workshop for your service or community group. This is available for people in Northern NSW, from Grafton to Tweed.How can staff working in health facilities help with health literacy?