Since 1999, organizations around the world have been observing October as Health Literacy Month. It’s a time to bring attention to the importance of making health information easy to understand — and making the health care system easier to navigate.
The HHS Health Literacy Workgroup, which includes representatives from multiple HHS agencies, collaborates to ensure that improving health literacy remains a priority at the Department. This year, the Workgroup invites everyone to celebrate by participating in health literacy activities throughout the month.
Ways to Celebrate Health Literacy Month
Not sure what to do to celebrate health literacy month? Here are some ideas for health care professionals.
- Take an online health literacy course.
- Watch this health literacy video with your colleagues and use these questions to discuss it.
- Shadow a patient to find out how they experience your practice flow and communication.
- Encourage patients to ask questions — try using Ask Me 3.
- Practice the teach-back method.
- Post this list of key communication strategies on exam room walls as a reminder.
- Challenge yourself and your colleagues to take this health literacy quiz.
- Read up on plain language and make a list of words you’ll never use again with patients.
- Reach out to your state health literacy coalition.
- Teach your patients to use their personal health record.
- Share the myhealthfinder tool with patients so they can get easy-to-understand, personalized health recommendations.
- Use the Patient Education Materials Assessment Tool to see if the health education materials you give to patients are easy to understand.
Learn More About Health Literacy
Interested in getting the facts about health literacy and why it’s so important? Check out some of our favorite health literacy resources from the following HHS agencies:
- Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ)
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
- Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS)
- Food and Drug Administration (FDA)
- Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA)
- Indian Health Service (IHS)
- Immediate Office of the Secretary (IOS)
- National Institutes of Health (NIH)
- Office of the Assistant Secretary for Health (OASH)
Tune in on Twitter
Finally, be sure to follow @HHSPrevention on Twitter — we’ll be sharing a Health Literacy Month tweets during the month of October.