Health literacy

"The personal characteristics and social resources needed for individuals and communities to access, understand, appraise and use information and services to make decisions about health."

World Health Organisation, 2015

Health literacy is crucial to the attainment of good health and provision of effective healthcare.

UK policy places emphasis on encouraging better patient participation in their healthcare, particularly with reference to managing long-term conditions or promotion of wellbeing. Participation is generally viewed as patients playing a more active role in their healthcare, including sharing information on their healthcare priorities and taking part in decision-making about their care. Research has shown that patients with low health literacy have difficulty in participating in their healthcare, resulting in poorer health.

This research stream includes projects to both build health literacy skills in individuals and communities, and projects to improve our services and resources.

Examples of on-going studies/project areas include:

  • Childhood predictors of low health literacy
  • Mental health literacy in schools
  • Can we identify low health literacy from routine primary care data?
  • Can we develop interventions for healthcare professionals to support patients who may have low health literacy?
  • Inclusive supportive self-management for patients with low health literacy and musculoskeletal pain
  • Health literacy friendly organisations

For more information please contact Professor Jo Protheroe, Keele University School of Medicine, or visit the Health Literacy website.