Health literacy has been usually described as an individual trait (French & Hernandez, 2013), which concerns the ability of patients to properly navigate the health care system (Nutbeam, 2008). In line with this prevailing interpretation, the organizational side of health literacy, that is to say the ability of health care organizations to establish clear and comfortable relationships with patients, has been widely overlooked (Brach, et al., 2012). In addition, when examined, the enhancement of organizational health literacy has been mainly understood as a call for action for health care providers (Brach, Dreyer, & Schillinger, 2014), thus neglecting its structural and managerial implications. To the knowledge of the Authors, this paper is one of the first attempt to discuss organizational health literacy as a core attribute of a specific type of organizations operating within the Italian National Health Service. In particular, the attention has been focused on municipal pharmacies, which are conceived as the most fitting organizational context to handle the effects of the patients’ inadequate understanding of health information on the effectiveness of health care provision. Drawing from the findings of a mainly exploratory analysis, this paper provides several empirical insights about, on the one hand, the awareness of organizational health literacy of a convenience sample of municipal pharmacies operating in Southern Italy and, on the other hand, their ability to meet the information needs of people living with limited health literacy skills. The results of this study suggest that the units of analysis are aware of the impacts of inadequate health literacy on the appropriateness and effectiveness of health care; however, their commitment to address the needs and the expectations of low health literate patients is still poor.

Exploring the Organizational Health Literacy of Municipal Pharmacies: The Quest for a Health Literate Organizational Environment

PALUMBO, ROCCO;ANNARUMMA, Carmela
2015

Abstract

Health literacy has been usually described as an individual trait (French & Hernandez, 2013), which concerns the ability of patients to properly navigate the health care system (Nutbeam, 2008). In line with this prevailing interpretation, the organizational side of health literacy, that is to say the ability of health care organizations to establish clear and comfortable relationships with patients, has been widely overlooked (Brach, et al., 2012). In addition, when examined, the enhancement of organizational health literacy has been mainly understood as a call for action for health care providers (Brach, Dreyer, & Schillinger, 2014), thus neglecting its structural and managerial implications. To the knowledge of the Authors, this paper is one of the first attempt to discuss organizational health literacy as a core attribute of a specific type of organizations operating within the Italian National Health Service. In particular, the attention has been focused on municipal pharmacies, which are conceived as the most fitting organizational context to handle the effects of the patients’ inadequate understanding of health information on the effectiveness of health care provision. Drawing from the findings of a mainly exploratory analysis, this paper provides several empirical insights about, on the one hand, the awareness of organizational health literacy of a convenience sample of municipal pharmacies operating in Southern Italy and, on the other hand, their ability to meet the information needs of people living with limited health literacy skills. The results of this study suggest that the units of analysis are aware of the impacts of inadequate health literacy on the appropriateness and effectiveness of health care; however, their commitment to address the needs and the expectations of low health literate patients is still poor.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11386/4649543
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