242195 Improving Health Literacy at All Levels: The National Action Plan to Improve Health Literacy and Healthy People 2020 Health Communication and Health IT Objectives

Tuesday, November 1, 2011: 1:06 PM

Jessica Rowden, MA , US Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Rockville, MD
Research indicates that much health information is presented in ways that are not understandable by most Americans. The 2003 National Assessment of Adult Literacy found that 9 of 10 U.S. adults have difficulty with everyday health information. Limited health literacy affects people's ability to use health information, adopt healthy behaviors and manage chronic conditions. It is also associated with worse health outcomes and higher costs. The National Action Plan to Improve Health Literacy seeks to engage organizations, professionals, policymakers, communities, and individuals in a multi-sector effort to improve health literacy. The Plan outlines seven overarching goals and related strategies to create a health literacy society. Public health agencies and other organizations can use this framework to identify priorities and actions to improve health literacy among constituents. Improving health literacy is included in Healthy People 2020 Health Communication and Health IT Objectives. These objectives offer measures and targets for tracking health literacy progress on a population level. Measuring health literacy helps hold health care systems accountable for improving the health literacy of patients and can have a positive impact on health and health equity. These objectives are also applicable to non-clinical public health settings. These two initiatives give us a clear path toward improving health literacy and tracking progress over the decade. Public health professionals and policymakers on the federal, state and local levels can incorporate health literacy improvement into efforts to create more usable health information; develop more cost-effective, equitable, safer, and higher quality health services; and improve health outcomes.

Learning Areas:
Communication and informatics
Diversity and culture
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs
Provision of health care to the public
Public health or related education
Public health or related laws, regulations, standards, or guidelines

Learning Objectives:
1. Identify the importance and the impact that two initiatives, The National Action Plan to Improve Health Literacy and Healthy People 2020 Health Communication and Health IT Objectives, can have on creating a health literate society. 2. Describe the specific roles that public health professionals and public health agencies can have in improving health literacy for everyone, including efforts at the national, state and local levels.

Keywords: Health Literacy, Health Communications

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am currently serving as Health Communication and eHealth service fellow at the Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion at the US Dept. of Health and Human Services. In this role, I am responsible for managing various health communications related projects, with a focus on health literacy.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.