Health Literate Care Model
Explore these resources to learn how to implement and promote the Health Literate Care Model in your organization or community.
A Universal Precautions Approach
A universal precautions approach means treating all patients as if they are at risk of not understanding health information.
- Use the “Health Literacy Universal Precautions Toolkit” to assess a primary care practice and raise awareness among its staff
Resources and Policies
Partnerships between health care providers and community organizations can improve access to the resources and skills people need to manage their health effectively.
Health Literate Systems
Organization of Health Care
Health literate organizations make it easier for people to navigate, understand, and use health information and services.
Delivery System Design
In the Health Literate Care Model, staff members take on diverse roles to deliver care that can be adapted so it’s appropriate for the various levels of health literacy the patient may be experiencing.
- Listen to a doctor and his patient engage in a “brown bag” medicine review
- Get more tips for how clinical staff can conduct a "brown bag" medicine review with patients
Health Information Systems
Clinical information systems and electronic medical records are useful tools for both providers and patients.
- Find out how to make consumer-facing health websites easy to use and understand
- Read this guide to “Accessible Health Information Technology (IT) for Populations with Limited Literacy” [PDF – 379 KB]
Patients need help learning how to manage their health day to day. Health care providers can facilitate this learning by offering self-management support.
- Browse the Self-Management Support Resource Library
- Use this teach-back training toolkit
- Watch this self-management support video
- Learn more about the teach-back method [PDF – 234 KB]
- Find out how clinicians can make action plans with their patients [PDF – 189 KB]
Shared Decision Making
Shared decision making is a process that allows patients and their health care providers to make decisions together.
Apply Improvement Methods
Health organizations that adopt the Health Literate Care Model explicitly incorporate health literacy into their ongoing efforts to improve quality of care.
- Check out the 6 steps on the “Path to Improvement” [PDF – 138 KB] from the North Carolina Program on Health Literacy
- Watch this video about patient engagement
Improve Written Communication
In order to be effective, print materials must be easy for people to read, understand, and act on.
- Check out this “Toolkit for Making Written Materials Clear and Effective”
- Get tips on designing easy-to-read material [PDF – 201 KB]
Link to Supportive Systems
Supportive systems include non-medical support, medication assistance, and health literacy resources.
- Find out how to link patients to non-medical support [PDF – 184 KB]
- Learn about resources to help patients with their medication costs [PDF – 112 KB]
- Get tips for using health and literacy resources in the community [PDF – 291 KB]
Improve Verbal Interaction
Training can help providers improve their communication skills.
- Try this free online course to learn more about effective communication strategies
- Get tips for communicating clearly with patients [PDF – 216 KB]
Engage Patients as Partners in Care and Improvement Efforts
Patient and caregiver feedback is key to continuing to build and improve the health literate organization.
Strategies for Health Literate Organizations
This chart shows how different health literacy strategies relate to each aspect of the Health Literate Care Model.
- Learn about the Institute of Patient- and Family-Centered Care
- Check out this “Patient-Centered Medical Home Assessment”
Informed, Health Literate, Activated Patient and Family
In a health literate care system, patients and their families have the knowledge and skills they need to make informed decisions and provide feedback.
- Learn about the “Patient and Family Engagement” module of the “Comprehensive Unit-based Safety Program (CUSP)” toolkit
- Read this “Guide to Patient and Family Engagement in Hospital Quality and Safety”
Productive interactions between patients and providers involve ongoing conversations, either face to face or facilitated by media such as patient portals.
- Explore healthfinder.gov to find plain language health information on prevention and wellness
- Check out healthfinder.gov’s myfamily mobile app
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