Health literacy practices and educational competencies for health professionals: A consensus study

Clifford A. Coleman, Stan Hudson, Lucinda L. Maine

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

56 Scopus citations

Abstract

Health care professionals often lack adequate knowledge about health literacy and the skills needed to address low health literacy among patients and their caregivers. Many promising practices for mitigating the effects of low health literacy are not used consistently. Improving health literacy training for health care professionals has received increasing emphasis in recent years. The development and evaluation of curricula for health professionals has been limited by the lack of agreed-upon educational competencies in this area. This study aimed to identify a set of health literacy educational competencies and target behaviors, or practices, relevant to the training of all health care professionals. The authors conducted a thorough literature review to identify a comprehensive list of potential health literacy competencies and practices, which they categorized into 1 or more educational domains (i.e., knowledge, skills, attitudes) or a practice domain. The authors stated each item in operationalized language following Bloom's Taxonomy. The authors then used a modified Delphi method to identify consensus among a group of 23 health professions education experts representing 11 fields in the health professions. Participants rated their level of agreement as to whether a competency or practice was both appropriate and important for all health professions students. A predetermined threshold of 70% agreement was used to define consensus. After 4 rounds of ratings and modifications, consensus agreement was reached on 62 out of 64 potential educational competencies (24 knowledge items, 27 skill items, and 11 attitude items), and 32 out of 33 potential practices. This study is the first known attempt to develop consensus on a list of health literacy practices and to translate recommended health literacy practices into an agreed-upon set of measurable educational competencies for health professionals. Further work is needed to prioritize the competencies and practices in terms of relative importance.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)82-102
Number of pages21
JournalJournal of Health Communication
Volume18
Issue numberSUPPL. 1
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 4 2013

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ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Communication
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Library and Information Sciences

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