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  • Health and digital literacy survey 2022/23 (PIF, 27 March 2023)

    • UK
    • Data, research and analysis
    • Pre-existing
    • Original author
    • No
    • Patient Information Forum (PIF)
    • 27/03/23
    • Everyone


    This report outlines the results of the Patient Information Forum's (PIF's) 2022 survey and sets out progress made in the crucial areas of health and digital literacy since the Covid-19 pandemic.


    Key findings

    • PIF’s last survey in 2019 found 13% of organisations had a health literacy strategy in place and just 50% assessed the equalities impact of digital projects. By 2022, 33% had a health literacy strategy and 80% of respondents considered equalities impact of digital tools. In comparison, the period between 2013-2019 had shown very little progress.
    • A lack of resources is the major barrier to action on health and digital literacy for NHS organisations and charities.
    • Susceptibility to misinformation is now seen as a key challenge for people with lower health literacy.
    • Digital exclusion is preventing some people from accessing an increasingly digital NHS. 


    1. Health policy - Incorporate health and digital literacy into health strategies of the four nations as a key enabler of recovery. This will support shared decision making, self care, self management and reduce health inequality. The NHS should support development of ‘health literacy friendly’ organisations.
    2. Health literacy friendly organisations - Organisations should aspire to become ‘health and digital literacy friendly.’ All organisations should implement the Accessible Information Standard.
    3. Equalities impact of digital tools - All organisations should consider the equalities impact of digital tools. The inability to access digital services independently, safely and confidently should be a health ‘vital sign’. The NHS should encourage digital health hubs and use free resources like the Good Things Foundation’s National Databank and National Device Bank.
    4. NICE - Ensure health and digital literacy is recognised in new and updated NICE guidelines, with particular reference to digital technologies. 
    5. Shared Decision Making - Campaign for the provision of ‘health-literacy friendly’ patient information that conforms to the NICE Framework for Decision Support tools. Change the regulatory framework for medicines information to make medicine package leaflets more accessible to patients.
    6. PIF TICK - Expand the PIF TICK to ensure best practice in health and digital literacy is translated into action by information producers.
    7. NHS England Content Standard - The standard should be mandatory for all NHS organisations in England. National NHS bodies should take a ‘Do it once. Do it nationally’ approach to information on key priorities to avoid duplication and promote consistency.
    8. PIF Guidance - PIF to develop a guide on how to carry out health and digital literacy audits. Promote existing resources, knowledge and tools on health and digital literacy. Develop a health literacy checklist for information producers.
    9. Translated health information - Create a central repository for information in  commonly spoken languages to help reduce health inequality. Campaign for the NHS Apps and other national websites to be made available in commonly spoken languages.
    10. Skills improvement - Support digital and media and information literacy skills improvement. Work in cross sector partnerships with the Media and Information Literacy Alliance to  signpost credible health information in all formats to the public via social media, libraries, schools, prisons, pharmacies and community based support.
    Health and digital literacy survey 2022/23 (PIF, 27 March 2023) https://pifonline.org.uk/download/file/951/
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