Health literacy

"Literacy and health literacy are fundamental components of pursuing health and wellbeing in modern society." Zsuzsanna Jakab (WHO Regional Director for Europe)

This document has been curated by Fellows of the RACP to help you find high quality CPD resources on health literacy.

Resources are categorised by type:

  1. Key organisations & websites
  2. Webcasts
  3. Courses
  4. Tools
  5. Key journals
  6. Recommended reading

Professional development in health literacy

Numerous definitions of health literacy have evolved since the term was coined in the 1970s. Increasingly, these go beyond the individual and highlight the social and technological factors that impact health literacy. 

At its core, health literacy refers to:

  • The ability to understand and interpret health information
  • The ability to apply knowledge and skills to manage your health
  • The ability to navigate health systems and services

Accurately judging a patient’s health literacy level is challenging, yet it is fundamental to tailoring management to the individual.

Understanding health literacy and its role also helps with communication on a broader level. It is a key component of designing services that all patients can engage with and providing health information to a whole community.

Short on time? Try this:

1. Key Organisations & Websites

Useful as a starting point and overview of current work in this area

CPD tipCPD TIP:  Don’t forget to claim CPD credits for any learning from these websites. Download the current MyCPD Framework here. 

2. Webcasts

Useful for brief overviews of topics and recent developments

CPD tipCPD tip: Don’t forget to claim CPD credits for any learning from these webcasts in Category 5 (1 credit/hr). Download the current MyCPD Framework here.

3. Courses

Useful for in depth, structured learning

CPD tipCPD tip: Don’t forget to claim CPD credits for any learning from these courses. Download the current MyCPD Framework here. 

4. Tools

Useful for implementing what you have learned in your daily practice

CPD tipCPD tip: Don’t forget to claim CPD credits for any learning from these tools. Download the current MyCPD Framework here. 

5. Key Journals

Useful for keeping up to date with research and finding out more on specific topics

CPD tipCPD tip: Don’t forget to claim CPD credits for your time reading these journals in Category 5 (1 credit/hr). Download the current MyCPD Framework here. 

  • Health Promotion International
    Health Promotion International is the official journal of the International Union for Health Promotion and Education (IUHPE) and is published in association with the WHO.

  • Journal of Health Communication: International Perspectives
    This journal focuses on the communication of health information globally. Topics include health literacy, old and new media, shared decision making, public health, policy and ethics.

  • Patient Education and Counselling
    PEC is the official journal of the European Association for Communication in Healthcare and the American Academy on Communication in Healthcare. It has an interdisciplinary and international focus.

6. Recommended Reading

Useful for keeping up to date with research and finding out more on specific topics

CPD tipCPD tip: Don’t forget to claim CPD credits for your time spent on these readings in Category 5 (1 credit/hr). Download the current MyCPD Framework here.

Send Us Your Feedback:

RACP curated collections are managed by the Learning Support Unit, based on the contributions and peer review of Fellows of the College and other experts.

We thank Prof Rachelle Buchbinder and the health literacy teams at Monash University and Deakin University for their contributions to the Quality and Safety page.

Tell us what you think about this page and make suggestions for improvement by emailing myresources@racp.edu.au.

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