Visit the ACCC COVID-19 Resource Center & Discussion Group for Insights on Providing Optimal Patient Care During the Pandemic.
 

Share

    


In This Section

Home / Learn / Patient-Centered Care / Health Literacy

Health Literacy

Health literacy is defined as "the degree to which individuals have the capacity to obtain, process, and understand basic health information and services needed to make appropriate health decisions."1 The skills required encompass reading, listening, analytics, numeracy, and decision-making, plus the ability to navigate a complex and changing healthcare delivery system. Healthcare providers, patients, and other stakeholders have important roles in health literacy.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC):2

Anyone who provides health information and services to others, such as a doctor, nurse, dentist, pharmacist, or public health worker, also needs health literacy skills to

  • Help people find information and services
  • Communicate about health and healthcare
  • Process what people are explicitly and implicitly asking for
  • Understand how to provide useful information and services
  • Decide which information and services work best for different situations and people so they can act

 

Given the increasing complexity of cancer diagnosis, treatment, follow-up with survivorship care plans, health literacy is integral to delivery of patient-centered care.

1. Nielsen-Bohlman L, Panzer AM, Kindig DA (eds). Health Literacy: A Prescription to End Confusion. Institute of Medicine Committee on Health Literacy. Washington, DC: National Academies Press; 2004.
2. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. What is Health Literacy? 

Featured Program

Let's Be Clear: Communicating to Improve the Cancer Patient Experience

With this education project ACCC seeks to help cancer programs across the country to improve survivorship programming through the application of the health literacy principles.
Learn More

From Oncology Issues

  •  Implementing and Evaluating an Online Educational Resource for Veterans with Cancer
    Cheryl Booth, RN, MSN, NP-C, AOCNP, AND Gwendolyn Hooper, PhD, RN, FNP, APRN-BC
    One VA Center improved patient education by developing an online resource for veterans with cancer. Although several barriers emerged during this quality improvement process, the VA Center was able to meet its patients needs and decrease their anxiety.
  •  MyCareCompass
    Elizabeth Koelker, MHA, FACHE, et al.
    A dynamic partnership with a technology company allowed one cancer program to improve patient education through the use of digital communication. Today patients receive emails or texts at crucial and targeted moments during their cancer treatment journey.
  • Cancer Crushing Prevention and Early Detection
    By Chuck DeGooyer
    In looking at cancer incidence data, Tri-Cities Cancer Center found that its region was experiencing a higher rate of late-stage lung and colorectal diagnoses than the national average. The cancer center developed a creative and humorous marketing campaign and workplace wellness program to raise awareness and increase screening compliance.
  • Views: The Breast Cancer School for Patients
    John Williams, MD
    Most healthcare facilities provide information online and offer handouts to patients at their facilities. I suggest that cancer programs, professional organizations, and physicians should pivot toward “teaching” patients how to obtain quality, cutting-edge care in their own communities. Specifically, our profession should engage patients with sophisticated video-based patient education. That is why I created the Breast Cancer School for Patients.
  • A Small, Island Community Hospital Removes Barriers to Lung Cancer Screening and Detection
    By Donna Delfera, RN; Micayla Albers; Lysle Ailstock, MD; and Charles Shelton, MD
    Because of its growing retirement-age population and its unique location on a barrier island, The Outer Banks Hospital saw patients with lung cancer presenting at too late a stage for curative treatment. Learn how the hospital created an LDCT program and partnered with local providers and community cancer centers to identify patients with lung cancer at an earlier stage.