Who are health personnel?
Health personnel are purveyors of health services and information. The term “health personnel” can encompass a wide range of disciplines, from hospitalists trained in Western medicine to community-based practitioners offering alternative therapies. It also includes a variety of functions. For example, non-clinical front line staff, such as medical receptionists and assistants, routinely communicate health information (forms, referrals, payment details) to consumers. Whole person care initiatives consider housing and social service providers to be part of the health care team given the impact shelter and social supports have on wellness. With health information coming from so many sources, consumers must determine what to pay attention to, whether a source is credible, and if the information high quality.
Why does health literacy matter to health personnel?
The Calgary Charter on Health Literacy states: “Health literacy allows the public and personnel working in all health-related contexts to find, understand, evaluate, communicate, and use information.” As individuals responsible for communicating with consumers, health personnel must possess health literacy expertise to be able to understand and articulate information to those they serve. Similarly, health personnel have a role in developing consumers’ health literacy skills: helping to build their vocabulary, increase understanding, and bolster self-efficacy, so they can act to meet their health care needs. Ultimately, the effectiveness of the care, treatment and services provided by health personnel depends on the consumer’s ability to understand and act on them.
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.