Background: Health literacy has been usually discussed as an individual trait, concerning the patient ability to navigate the health care service system. Alternatively, the organizational side of health literacy, or the ability of health care organizations to establish comfortable relationships with patients, has been widely overlooked. This manuscript is one of the first attempts to empirically examine organizational health literacy as a key attribute of health care organizations. Method: A convenience sample of municipal pharmacies operating within the Italian National Health Services was built. Their awareness of organizational health literacy issues and their ability to establish a co-creating relationship with their users were assessed through the Italian version of the Health Literacy Assessment Tool. Three domains were included in the assessment tool: (1) the accessibility of print informative materials used in the pharmacy; (2) the interpersonal communication between the pharmacy staff and the patients; and (3) the sensitivity of the pharmacy staff to health literacy issues. Results: The units of analysis were aware of the impacts of inadequate organizational health literacy on the ability of patients to understand and use health information; however, the organizational commitment to address the needs and the expectations of low health literate patients was limited among the units of analysis. Conclusions: Organizational health literacy is a crucial, but neglected issue among health care practitioners. There is a desperate need for an improvement of health care organizations’ friendliness, which is an essential ingredient in the recipe for patient empowerment.

Empowering organizations to empower patients: An organizational health literacy approach

PALUMBO, ROCCO;ANNARUMMA, Carmela
2016

Abstract

Background: Health literacy has been usually discussed as an individual trait, concerning the patient ability to navigate the health care service system. Alternatively, the organizational side of health literacy, or the ability of health care organizations to establish comfortable relationships with patients, has been widely overlooked. This manuscript is one of the first attempts to empirically examine organizational health literacy as a key attribute of health care organizations. Method: A convenience sample of municipal pharmacies operating within the Italian National Health Services was built. Their awareness of organizational health literacy issues and their ability to establish a co-creating relationship with their users were assessed through the Italian version of the Health Literacy Assessment Tool. Three domains were included in the assessment tool: (1) the accessibility of print informative materials used in the pharmacy; (2) the interpersonal communication between the pharmacy staff and the patients; and (3) the sensitivity of the pharmacy staff to health literacy issues. Results: The units of analysis were aware of the impacts of inadequate organizational health literacy on the ability of patients to understand and use health information; however, the organizational commitment to address the needs and the expectations of low health literate patients was limited among the units of analysis. Conclusions: Organizational health literacy is a crucial, but neglected issue among health care practitioners. There is a desperate need for an improvement of health care organizations’ friendliness, which is an essential ingredient in the recipe for patient empowerment.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11386/4676347
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