Health Literacy Institute

Reach out and engage your audience with clear health communication. Turn complexity into clarity using health literacy and plain language.

The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) Announces Health Literacy Continuing Education Offerings

Nurses and doctors can now earn continuing education credits at no cost for completing AHRQ-supported learning modules that highlight the challenges of caring for patients with low health literacy, as well as strategies for improving patient communication and care. Access these web-based modules that were developed in collaboration with OptumHealth: An Updated Overview of Health Literacy and Improving Health Literacy by Improving Communication Skills. In addition, board-certified pediatricians and family physicians can earn maintenance of certification credit through online health literacy self-assessment activities from the American Academy of Pediatrics and American Board of Family Medicine.

Health literacy = universal challenge

Clear health communication = universal solution
The Challenge: Only 12% of American adults have proficient health literacy skills. Most struggle to understand and use health-related information such as medication instructions, consent forms, directions for tests and procedures, care instructions, risk assessments and food labels. As our population ages and diversifies, this challenge will grow. All health professionals need skills to meet the challenge.

The Impact: The Joint Commission, American Medical Association and American Public Health Association identify health literacy as fundamental to:

  • Patient safety
  • Patient-centered care and shared decision making
  • Accreditation and legal compliance
  • Cost effective systems
  • Activated care givers and patients
  • Healthier communities

The Solution: Clear, effective communication based on principles of plain language text, organization and visual design increases understanding. These principles can be applied across:

  • Materials
  • Media
  • Spoken and recorded messaging
  • Presentations
  • Learning systems

Culture. Diversity. Accessibility. Effective communication incorporates attention to and respect for culture, diversity and accessibility. It reflects principles of many disciplines such as social marketing, adult education, health promotion, cognitive psychology and document design to increase understanding for all.


Contact us

Karen O'Rourke
Phone: (207) 221-4620