Health literacy is the degree to which individuals can obtain, process, and understand the basic health information and services they need to make appropriate health decisions. According to Health Literacy: A Prescription to End Confusion (IOM, 2004), nearly half of all American adults--90 million people--have inadequate health literacy to navigate the healthcare system. To address issues raised in that report, the Institute of Medicine convened the Roundtable on Health Literacy, which brings together leaders from the federal government, foundations, health plans, associations, and private companies to discuss challenges facing health literacy practice and research and to identify approaches to promote health literacy in both the public and private sectors. On November 30, 2010, the roundtable cosponsored a workshop with the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), Anderson School of Management in Los Angeles. Improving Health Literacy Within a State serves as a summary of what occurred at the workshop. The workshop focused on understanding what works to improve health literacy across a state, including how various stakeholders have a role in improving health literacy.
The focus of the workshop was on presentations and discussions that address (1) the clinical impacts of health literacy improvement approaches; (2) economic outcomes of health literacy implementation; and (3) how various stakeholders can affect health literacy.