Health Literacy Month 2019
October is Health Literacy Month, a time for professionals, users and advocates around the world to collaborate, share information and help spread awareness about health literacy and the need for ‘understandable health communication’.
This year, Health Literacy Month celebrates its 20th anniversary. If you haven’t been involved before, it’s a great opportunity to take part in events, organise your own, or simply to shine a spotlight on health literacy and look more closely at what it means to you, your organisation and your users.
Why is Health Literacy important?
Health literacy refers not just to the way that we write health communications, but also to a person’s ability to obtain, process and understand that information in order to make informed choices about their healthcare journey.
Health literacy also affects how easily people follow instructions for use on medical devices, and their ability to stick to medication regimens, so it has an important bearing on the effectiveness of treatment and, ultimately, on health outcomes.
The importance of health literacy cannot be underestimated, and maximising people’s health literacy has enormous value. Improving health outcomes benefits not only the end user, but also ensures a more cost-effective and efficient healthcare system overall.
Health Literacy and Luto
Research has shown that patients who can’t understand their health materials will have poorer health outcomes than those who can. Which is why, at Luto, our priority is to make health information clearer. For everybody.
So, how do we do this? We use a variety of methods to make sure that end users are engaged from the very beginning in the design and review of health information, ranging from Instructions for Use to Patient Information Leaflets. We use face-to-face interviews and focus groups, as well as more quantitative methods such as eye-tracking and usability labs, to make sure that patient information can be easily understood. But we don’t just talk to patients. We also involve professionals from the healthcare and pharma sectors, as well as carers and advocates, to ensure that the health information we produce meets the needs of all users.
Health Literacy Month 2019
Luto is a supporter of Health Literacy Month and we are committed to raising awareness of the importance of clear communication in healthcare.
If you’re interested in health literacy, you can listen to the podcast series: ‘Health Literacy Out Loud’. This month’s special podcast delves deeper into the rationale behind health literacy month, what it means to be advocates in the field and why it is such an important area of work.