The National Action Plan to Improve Health Literacy seeks to engage organizations, professionals, policymakers, communities, individuals, and families in a linked, multi-sector effort to improve health literacy. The Action Plan is based on 2 core principles:
- All people have the right to health information that helps them make informed decisions
- Health services should be delivered in ways that are easy to understand and that improve health, longevity, and quality of life
The Action Plan contains 7 goals that will improve health literacy and strategies for achieving them:
- Develop and disseminate health and safety information that is accurate, accessible, and actionable
- Promote changes in the health care system that improve health information, communication, informed decision-making, and access to health services
- Incorporate accurate, standards-based, and developmentally appropriate health and science information and curricula in child care and education through the university level
- Support and expand local efforts to provide adult education, English language instruction, and culturally and linguistically appropriate health information services in the community
- Build partnerships, develop guidance, and change policies
- Increase basic research and the development, implementation, and evaluation of practices and interventions to improve health literacy
- Increase the dissemination and use of evidence-based health literacy practices and interventions
Many of the strategies highlight actions that particular organizations or professions can take to further these goals. It will take everyone working together in a linked and coordinated manner to improve access to accurate and actionable health information and usable health services. By focusing on health literacy issues and working together, we can improve the accessibility, quality, and safety of health care; reduce costs; and improve the health and quality of life of millions of people in the United States.
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion. (2010). National Action Plan to Improve Health Literacy. Washington, DC: Author.
1 Nielsen-Bohlman, L., Panzer, A. M., & Kindig, D. A. (Eds.). (2004). Health literacy: A prescription to end confusion.Washington, DC: National Academies Press.
2 Kutner, M., Greenberg, E., Jin, Y., & Paulsen, C. (2006). The health literacy of America's adults: Results from the 2003 National Assessment of Adult Literacy (NCES 2006-483). Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics.
3 Rudd, R. E., Anderson, J. E., Oppenheimer, S., & Nath, C. (2007). Health literacy: An update of public health and medical literature. In J. P. Comings, B. Garner, & C. Smith. (Eds.), Review of adult learning and literacy (vol. 7) (pp 175–204). Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.
4 U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. (2000). Healthy People 2010 (2nd ed.) [with Understanding and Improving Health (vol. 1) and Objectives for Improving Health (vol. 2)]. Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office.
5 Berkman, N. D., DeWalt, D. A., Pignone, M. P., Sheridan, S. L., Lohr, K. N., Lux, L., et al. (2004). Literacy and health outcomes(AHRQ Publication No. 04-E007-2). Rockville, MD: Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.