Background and Theme
Health Literacy is a concept which receives growing attention within academia, policy environments and patient organisations. Health literacy is the capacity of individuals to obtain, process, and understand basic health information and services needed to make appropriate health decisions. Hospitals play a crucial role in patient-provider communication and the provision of health information. There are several ways in which they can help their healthcare providers to recognise limited health literacy and to overcome obstacles in communicating effectively. A hospital that develops and maintains a strategy to integrate health literacy in its organisation and procedures may be considered a “Health Literate Hospital”. There are several strategies and tools on how to become a Health Literate Hospital but as of yet, they are not systematically implemented.
In order to create an overview of the current perspectives, this conference will bring together the most recent scientific insights, the most innovative tools, and the needs of hospitals worldwide.
Goals and structure of the conference
The goal of the conference is to gain insight in best practises worldwide in:
1. Existing and new communication instruments and tools:
- Evidence-based instruments and insights that can improve online and offline written communication by hospitals, with a special interest in vulnerable groups like low health-literate patients (comprehensible texts for patients, including low-literate groups), as well as for patients with various cultural and linguistic backgrounds.
- Evidence-based instruments and insights that can improve face-to-face doctor-patient-communication in hospitals, with a special interest in vulnerable groups like low health-literate patients, as well as for patients with various cultural and linguistic backgrounds.
2. Frameworks and procedures to make hospitals more health literate, such as Cindy Brach’s “10 Attributes of a Health Literate Organisation” the Vienna concept and self-assessment tool for health literate hospitals by Jürgen Pelikan & Christina Dietscher.
3. Instruments for effectively gaining insight in the patients’ health literacy, such as Richard Osborne’s Health literacy questionnaire and organizational health literacy framework and self-assessment tool.
In order to address these issues we are aiming to structure the conference along three levels :
- Macro level: Which health- and knowledge infrastructures can and should local and national governments provide?
- Meso level: How can hospitals turn themselves into a health literate hospital? How can they organise their communication adequately and train their medical personnel effectively?
- Micro level: How can medical professionals become better communicators in face-to-face interaction and in writing (online and offline)? How can we train them in comprehensibility and intercultural awareness? How can we develop effective narratives?
This conference ultimately aims to combine the newest academic insights with practical tools that have proven to be effective. In doing so, the conference aims to target the following groups:
- Board members and managers of hospitals
- Representatives of health care providers and patient organisations
- Researchers in the field of health literacy
The creation of a diverse and relevant programme is ambitious and requires attention and expertise. For that reason, an Programme Advisory Committee has been assembled, featuring experts in communication, health literacy, and cultural diversity. The Programme Advisory Committee advises about themes, persons and organisations to include in the conference. We are proud to present the members of the Programme Advisory Committee:
Senior Health Care Researcher Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), USA
Tessa van Charldorp
Researcher Department of Language & Communication Utrecht University
Jeanine van der Giessen
Researcher Department Genetics UMC Utrecht
Maria van den Muijsenbergh
Professor in Health Disparities and Person Centred Integrated Primary Care at Radboud University Medical Centre, Department of Primary and Community Care and at Pharos, Dutch Centre of Expertise on Health Disparities
Chair Public Health Deakin University, Australia
Professor Sociology University of Vienna and Director Competence Centre Health Promotion in Hospitals and Health Care Austrian Public Health Institute
Head of Research Department Nivel and Professor Health Literacy and Patient Participation Maastricht University
Vice-Dean Faculty of Humanities and Professor of Dutch Language and Discourse Studies Utrecht University
Director Global Health Literacy Academy, President International Health Literacy Association and Focal Point Health Literacy Europe
We thank them all sincerely for their input and their willingness to sheir their expertise for the development of this conference.