Target groups

Health literacy interventions focus on people with low health literacy. Enhancing people in their health literacy competencies will improve people’s self-management and shared decision-making in health care. For people with the lowest level of health literacy there is adult education to improve understanding of health issues combined with general literacy skills. Building self-confidence and re-establishing self-esteem is an important element of the improvement of health literacy. At a more advanced level, training (e.g. by patient organisations) will help to enhance communication skills of patients. They become confident in discussing issues with the health service provider. At the highest level, smart interactive e-health applications guide people through decision-making processes.  Also for older adults e-health can offer solutions.

Health literacy interventions often target health care workers. Health services can create an environment more conducive for communication with low literacy patients, thus mitigating the effects of low health literacy. This implies removing barriers of access to the health system, e.g. smarter signs and signals, flyers and brochures, and prescription information. First, health care professionals and providers should be able to recognise patients with low health literacy skills and respond adequately. Health training institutions may play a role in this. Technological devices like for example automated medicine dispensers are used to enhance compliance of use of medicines.

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