What is Health Literacy?

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Health literacy is the knowledge and skills needed to access, understand, and use information related to physical, mental and social wellbeing.

Tasmania

Almost two in three people in Tasmania do not have the health literacy skills to manage their health and wellbeing.  Almost one in three adults with a university degree also do not have adequate health literacy. 

A large number of Tasmanians find it harder to:

  • understand and remember health information
  • access services
  • know who to see and when fill in forms
  • tell service providers what they need to know
  • arrange appointments, routine immunisations and screenings
  • prevent problems, or pick them up early.

Lower levels of health literacy means people are more reliant on services, healthcare providers, hospital and emergency services.   It also means people are less able to use programs to keep them healthy.   

Organisational health literacy

Community sector organisations are already working hard to support people with lower health literacy. We can work on our organisational health literacy to do this even more. Good organisational health literacy practices make it easier for people to find, understand and use the information and services they need, so that they can have better health and wellbeing.  Examples of good organisational health literacy practices are providing clear information for consumers to help them make informed decisions, engaging with consumers in a friendly and welcoming way, and involving consumers in decision making. 

HeLLOTas! Toolkit

The HeLLOTas! Toolkit will help you explore your organisational health literacy. It provides:

  • a step by step process for doing a self-assessment and developing a Health Literacy Action Plan
  • practical tools to help you with these tasks
  • links to accreditation standards, resources and further reading material.