Communication and Health Literacy

The communication domain includes skills and knowledge associated with designing, developing, implementing and assessing health literate content and communication – including measuring how effectively it is received. A Health Literacy Specialist (HLS) would:

  • Incorporate plain language principles into oral and text-based forms of communication.
  • Review health information to ensure that it is understandable and actionable [e.g., using Suitability Assessment of Materials (SAM), PE-MAT, CDC Clear Communication Index].
  • Evaluate learners’ understanding of any information provided (e.g., teach back).
  • Identify and addresses the intended audience’s characteristics, needs, and interests when communicating health information.• Assess text-based information using readability formulas (e.g., SMOG, Fry, Flesch Reading Ease).
  • Understand and conform to commonly accepted standards of appropriate grammar, punctuation, and style for health literacy (writing like people talk, using a conversational tone, etc.).
  • Incorporate evidence-based health literacy writing, organization, and design principles and practices into the creation of educational materials.
  • Collaborate with subject matter experts in the development of health messages.

Take a self-guided tour of the Health Literacy Ecosystem

The Health Literacy Ecosystem offers an overview of the skills and knowledge, settings and sources, audiences, and communication formats that are foundational to our field. Navigate within and across spheres, or dive into a topic and connect to resources. We welcome your contributions.