Health Literacy: Past, Present, and Future: Workshop Summary


Note: Proceedings contain the opinion of the presenters, but do NOT reflect the conclusions of the Health and Medicine Division or the National Academies. Learn more about the differences between Reports and Proceedings.

Ten years ago, there was a lack of recognition of health literacy as a foundational element for high-quality, patient-centered care. And there was no recognition of the importance of health literacy to improving population health. But in 2004, the Institute of Medicine released the report Health Literacy: A Prescription to End Confusion. In that same year the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) published a systematic review and analysis of evidence about the relationship between literacy and health outcomes and the effectiveness of interventions to mitigate the impact of low health literacy.  Over the past decade, understanding has evolved to the point where we now understand that health literacy is not just a function of individual skills and abilities, it also includes the demands and complexities of the systems with which individuals interact. Health Literacy: Past, Present, and Future commemorates the 2004 release and features invited presentations and discussions of the progress made in the field of health literacy since that time, explores the current state of the field, and discusses possible directions for future health literacy efforts.