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Health Literacy   Tags: low_literacy  

Last Updated: Oct 13, 2014 URL: Print Guide RSS UpdatesEmail Alerts
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Health Literacy - Roundtable on Health Literacy; Board on Population Health and Public Health Practice; Institute of Medicine
ISBN: 9780309284844
Publication Date: 2013-07-24
The roots of health literacy can be traced back to the national literacy movement in India under Gandhi and to aid groups working in Africa to promote education and health. The term health literacy was first used in 1974 and described as "health education meeting minimal standards for all school grade levels". From that first use the definition of health literacy evolved during the next 30 years with official definitions promulgated by government agencies and large programs. Despite differences among these definitions, they all hold in common the idea that health literacy involves the need for people to understand information that helps them maintain good health.

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Health Literacy, eHealth, and Communication
ISBN: 0309126428
This text explores the current status of communication technology and challenges for use in populations with low health literacy.

The Medical Library Association Guide to Health Literacy - Kars, Marge, Lynda M. Baker and Feleta L. Wilson
ISBN: 9781555706258
An introduction and components of health literacy plus needs of special populations. Addresses low literacy and learning strategies for older adults.


What is health literacy?


Health literacy is the capacity of a person to understand, access and negotiate her or his health requirements, including navigating the health carfe system, to maintain optimum health throughout life.


Health Literacy

Welcome to the Health Literacy Guide

According to a study by Berland et al (2001), the average adult reads at an eighth-grade level.  The elderly and those with limited or "low literacy" are unable to take advantage of new health technologies.  Although many patients turn to the Internet for health information about specific diseases, they are many who have only limited access to technology, and some who have no access at all.

Medical librarians are interested in strategies to combat low literacy and help patients find the information they need to improve their health, understand their physicians' instructions and proper use of medications.  I will be offering a class in Health Literacy in 2014 for healthcare professionals.  Please contact me for details.  My office number is 293-1718.




Health Literacy

Understanding Medical Words

MedlinePlus tututorial on medical terms

Drug Information




Quickly identify unknown drugs by color, shape, size, imprint, and scoring. 

Pill images are included when available.



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