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

  • 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.
  •  Technology Unlocks Untapped Potential in a Financial Navigation Program
    By Clara Lambert, BBA, OPN-CG; Scott Legleitner, BA, LPhT, SST; and Kathleen LaRaia
    While financial navigation programs ease the burden of financial toxicity on patients with cancer and help healthcare organizations with revenue loss, the manual nature of the process is challenging for navigators and financial advocates. Cowell Family Cancer Center piloted a financial navigation software program to analyze the effects of automation on productivity, workflow, and organizational alignment.
  •  The SCOOP Program
    Christopher Koprowski, MD, MBA; Edith J. Johnson, PhD, MBA; Karen Sites, BSN, RN, OCN; and Nicholas Petrelli, MD
    The Helen F. Graham Cancer Center and Research Institute implemented the Supportive Care of Oncology Patients (SCOOP) Program, which developed and implemented a clinical pathway that improved the patient experience and reduced the cost of care in selective curative cases.
  •  Development of Care Pathways to Standardize and Optimally Integrate Multidisciplinary Care for Head and Neck Cancer
    Assuntina G. Sacco, Charles S. Coffey, Parag Sanghvi, Gloria P. Rubio, et al.
    The complexity of head and neck cancer management demands greater attention in order to provide high-quality care. UC San Diego Moores Cancer Center developed a well-defined care pathway to enable predictability and consistency in both care delivery and cost.
  •  Tailoring Education for the Oncology Patient
    By Kristin Shea Donahue, MSN, RN, OCN, and Anne Marie Fraley Rainey, MSN, RN, CHC
    In the face of changing patient demographics, Clearview Cancer Institute made a concerted effort to bolster their patient education program across several different methods of communication.
  •  An Inpatient and Outpatient Nursing Collaborative Improves the Patient Experience
    By Christine Shike, RN, BSN
    When SwedishAmerican Regional Cancer Center found itself unable to quantify performance in inpatient oncology, it saw an opportunity to break down barriers in communication and education between the inpatient and outpatient setting.
  •  Turning on the Light Switch
    By Ann McGreal, RN
    Discover how 2017 ACCC Innovator Award winner Advocate Medical Group developed and implemented an immunotherapy program, lessons learned, and tools created to educate staff and patients.
  •  Closing a Gap in Cancer Care
    By Jan Akervall, MD, PhD; Jan Parslow, RN, MS, CCRP, OCN; Erin Maxon, MS, RD, CNSC; Nathan Tonlaar, MD; and Thomas Lanni Jr., MBA, FACE
    By implementing a weekly outpatient nutrition clinic for patients with head and neck cancer, this 2014 ACCC Innovator Award winner improved patient quality of life and reduced the cost of care.
  •  The Community Health Worker: A Cancer Program’s Role in Population Health Efforts
    Marla Moore, RN, BSN, MA; Rebecca Larson, BS; and Abhinav Chandra, MD
    In Arizona, Yuma Regional Medical Center Cancer Center leveraged the traditional Hispanic promotora, or community health worker, to reach high-risk and underserved populations.
  •  Fox Chase Cancer Center Care Connect
    Kelly Filchner, MSN, RN, OCN, CCRC, and Alan Howald, BS
    Fox Chase Cancer Center, Philadelphia, Pa., committed resources to develop a program to improve communication and education between oncology and primary care, and improve overall survivorship care.
  •  Implementation of a Health Disparities & Equity Program at the Duke Cancer Institute
    Nadine J. Barrett; Tracey Vann Hawkins; Julius Wilder; Kearston L. Ingraham; Valarie Worthy; Xiomara Boyce; Rebecca Reyes; Maritza Chirinos; Patricia Wigfall; William Robinson; and Steven R. Patierno
    In this article, we share the experience of the Duke Cancer Institute initiative to expand its capacity to engage the community and the health system towards achieving improved population and patient health outcomes.

On-Demand Webinars

ACCCBuzz Blog Posts