Parker, Ratzen and Lurie (2003) pointed out that a silent epidemic is affecting the health status of the American population, namely poor health literacy. Actually, inadequate health literacy is the main cause of the patients’ inability to navigate the health care environment, paving the way for inappropriateness in the provision of care as well as for poor health outcomes. Moreover, it has been esteemed that a third of the European population is not able to properly understand, process and use health information (HLS-EU Consortium, 2012). The same issue has been identified in several Asian countries (see, for example, Nakayama et al., 2015; Pednekar, Gupta & Gupta, 2011). What is striking is that—until today—the attention has been focused on the individual determinants of low health literacy, while studies concerning the organizational health literacy—that is to say, the ability of health care organization to establish friendly and comfortable relationships with the patients—are uncommon (Weaver, Wray, Zellin, Gautam & Jupka, 2012). This article is aimed at exploring the way health care organizations deal with patients living with inadequate health literacy. Drawing on the prevailing literature (Brach et al., 2012; DeWalt et al., 2013; Matthews & Sewell, 2002; Murphy-Knoll, 2007; Stableford & Mettger, 2007) the main approaches to improve organizational health literacy are examined. Then, a distinction between formal and informal tools to address organizational health literacy is suggested and the effectiveness of both of them is compared. The findings of the research suggest that informal tools are more common than formal tools, even though the former have lower perceived effectiveness as compared with the latter. Health care organizations seem to be still far from effectively activating comprehensive organizational health literacy pathways. There is a desperate need for systemic efforts to enhance the awareness of organizational health literacy and to encourage processes of change towards health literate organizational environments.

Contextualizing Health Literacy to Health Care Organizations: Exploratory Insights

ANNARUMMA, Carmela;PALUMBO, ROCCO
2016

Abstract

Parker, Ratzen and Lurie (2003) pointed out that a silent epidemic is affecting the health status of the American population, namely poor health literacy. Actually, inadequate health literacy is the main cause of the patients’ inability to navigate the health care environment, paving the way for inappropriateness in the provision of care as well as for poor health outcomes. Moreover, it has been esteemed that a third of the European population is not able to properly understand, process and use health information (HLS-EU Consortium, 2012). The same issue has been identified in several Asian countries (see, for example, Nakayama et al., 2015; Pednekar, Gupta & Gupta, 2011). What is striking is that—until today—the attention has been focused on the individual determinants of low health literacy, while studies concerning the organizational health literacy—that is to say, the ability of health care organization to establish friendly and comfortable relationships with the patients—are uncommon (Weaver, Wray, Zellin, Gautam & Jupka, 2012). This article is aimed at exploring the way health care organizations deal with patients living with inadequate health literacy. Drawing on the prevailing literature (Brach et al., 2012; DeWalt et al., 2013; Matthews & Sewell, 2002; Murphy-Knoll, 2007; Stableford & Mettger, 2007) the main approaches to improve organizational health literacy are examined. Then, a distinction between formal and informal tools to address organizational health literacy is suggested and the effectiveness of both of them is compared. The findings of the research suggest that informal tools are more common than formal tools, even though the former have lower perceived effectiveness as compared with the latter. Health care organizations seem to be still far from effectively activating comprehensive organizational health literacy pathways. There is a desperate need for systemic efforts to enhance the awareness of organizational health literacy and to encourage processes of change towards health literate organizational environments.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11386/4692342
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