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over 4 years ago

A Few Pointers on Health Literacy

Greetings, Super-Utilizer Health Innovation Challenge participants!

We’re nearly at the halfway point for this challenge, so we wanted to take this opportunity to send a few reminders your way about the importance of considering health literacy when designing solutions for this population. Check out a few key pointers below:

  • Health literacy refers to the skills necessary for someone to be able to participate in their health care and maintain good health, so it typically includes being able to read and write, calculate numbers, communicate with health care professionals, and use health technology (e.g., an electronic diabetes monitor).
  • Bear in mind that products should be developed for individuals with a fifth grade reading level. There are a number of tools that can help you assess the reading level of written content.
  • Keep written messages short and simple and present numbers and percentages simply (e.g., use 40% instead of 4/10).
  • Consider developing products in multiple languages.
  • Use commonly understood words. For instance, use the phrase ‘high blood pressure’ instead of ‘hypertension,’ or ‘able to get Medicaid,’ rather than ‘eligible.’
  • Consider mechanisms that allow an individual to “teach back” the information provided through an app or other software. This confirms whether or not the individual understands what was imparted.

For even more great tips, see the “Health Literacy Fact Sheets” at

Remember: submissions are due July 15, 2015, and there’s $50,000 in prizes at stake!


--The CHCS Team