Health literacy is usually described as a silent epidemic, which is challenging the sustainability of health care systems all over the world. The scientific literature has discussed the drawbacks of marginal health literacy on the functioning of the health care organizations. In particular, limited health literacy has been associated with: poorer ability of patients to comprehend health information, deficient medication adherence, insufficient use of prevention services, higher hospitalization rates, and greater health service utilization. In most of the cases, health literacy has been understood as an individual trait, which ultimately concerns the patients’ ability to obtain, process, and understand health information to navigate the health system. Alternatively, poor attention has been paid to the health literacy of the organizations operating within the health system, that is to say “organizational health literacy”. Indeed, neither the scholars nor the practitioners have adequately addressed the role played by the health care organizations to meet the needs of patients who live with limited health literacy. To contribute in filling such a gap, this study discusses the design and the structure of health-literate health care organizations. For this purpose, a systematic literature review was performed, involving 69 articles indexed in Scopus-Elsevier, Pub-Med, and Google Scholar to point out how the health care organizations face health literacy issues and to discuss what tools are used by the health care organizations to meet the information needs of people living with limited health literacy. Health-literate health care organizations turn out to be crucial to enhance patient engagement and improve health outcomes.
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