Understanding health information (health literacy) is essential for taking medications correctly, knowing which health services to use and managing long-term conditions. Around half the population struggles to understand health information, and the most disadvantaged groups in society are most likely to have limited health literacy. Improving health literacy is therefore key to tackling health inequalities and improving health outcomes for everyone.
This resource collection from the National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR) brings together messages from research highlighted in NIHR Alert summaries. It includes research on the impact of unclear health messages, how we can help people understand health information and which groups of the population may need extra support.
This collection contains information on the following subjects:
- Health literacy widens inequalities
- What happens when health information is not clear?
- How can we help people understand health information? (Simple, balanced language; Finding the focus; Online information needs to be relevant; Visuals, videos and going viral)
- Who may face extra barriers understanding health information? (People facing language barriers; People with language difficulties and learning disabilities; People living with dementia; Communities with low literacy)