Health Literacy


Health Literacy is the degree to which a person has the capacity to obtain, communicate, process, and understand health information and services to make appropriate health decisions [1].

Health Literacy is important as it shapes peoples long-term health outcomes and the safety and quality of the care they receive [2].

The infrastructure, policies, processes, materials, people and relationships that make up the health system have an impact on the way in which people are able to access, understand, evaluate and apply health-related information and services [2].

Video - ‘Improving Organisational Health Literacy’ (Gippsland)

The below video (released late 2021) is intended for use by health literacy champions across Gippsland to help them advocate for the importance of implementing health literacy best practice within their hospitals and health services.

The ‘Improving Organisational Health Literacy’ video was the result of a collaborative effort from Central West Gippsland Primary Care Partnership (CWGPCP), Latrobe Regional Hospital (LRH) and West Gippsland Healthcare Group (WGHG).

It was developed because the videos currently used in health literacy training with local health agencies are American and very outdated. People said they wanted something that gets the same message across, but is more up-to-date, local and relatable.

The new video includes narratives from Gippsland health workers and community members, either sharing a personal experience, or talking about the importance of certain aspects of health literacy, including:

  • Partnering with consumers (involving clients and their families in their own healthcare).
  • Written and verbal communication.
  • Navigation of physical and virtual environments.

The 9 minute video highlights the importance of health literacy, rather than describing instances of negligence or poor service, and includes useful examples of things local services are doing well.

For a complete list of the health literacy resources that appear at the end of this video, click here.

Gippsland Guide to becoming a Health Literate Organisation

The Gippsland Primary Care Partnerships have created the Gippsland Guide to becoming a Health Literate Organisation, please see attached. The Guide has been developed specifically to align with the accreditation standards of Gippsland health services.

This Guide provides tools and resources to support your organisation to become more health literate. Organisational health literacy will result in improved health outcomes for your clients.

To view the guide please the link below:

Gippsland Guide to becoming a Health Literate Organisation

Mini Health Literacy Checklist

This Checklist is a condensed version of The Gippsland Guide to Becoming a Health Literate Organisation. This condensed version has been created specifically for smaller health services to monitor how their organisation is tracking toward best practice health literacy standards, the Ten Attributes of a Health Literate Organisation.

The completed checklist will highlight gaps in health literacy practice and support the development of an organisational improvement plan. If you would like support in completing in the checklist or in any other health literacy work please contact

To learn more about the Guide please watch this short video:

Launch Video – Gippsland Guide to becoming a Health Literate Organisation

How the PCP can support your organisation

The Primary Care Partnerships role is to work with champions within member organisations to help them to drive activities to improve Organisational Health Literacy within their workplace.

This work includes the following steps:

  • Identify agency champions
  • Support agencies to measure current organisational practice using the Health Literacy Self-Assessment Checklist in the guide
  • From the results of the self – assessment checklist the PCP will support agencies to create a 1 year quality improvement action plan
  • Mentor agency champions to help them implement the action plan within their workplace
  • After 12 months of implementation, work with agency champions to use the self-assessment to measure the progress improvements that have occurred in the past year
  • Create a new 1 year action plan and the improvement cycle starts again

For more information about becoming a health literate organisation please contact Liz Meggetto on 5127 9147 or

Health Literacy Champions Network

The purpose of the Network is to represent your organisation as a Health Literacy Champion, and meet with others who are also working towards improving Health Literacy in their workplace.

The quarterly meetings include:
- Training on Health Literacy activities you can run in your organisation
- Training and support in how to embed Health Literacy into your organisation
- Updates on new Health Literacy Initiatives
- Peer learning and round table discussion on the Health Literacy improvements you are implementing in your organisation

Meetings occur quarterly on Thursdays from 10:00am to 12:00pm and are located at Latrobe Community Health Service, Moe.
If you have any questions, or would like to join the Network, please email

Gippsland PCP Health Literacy Work – Published in the Australian Health Review

The Gippsland PCPs have published a journal article about the Gippsland Health Literacy work. The article titled ‘Health literacy education for rural health professionals: shifting perspectives’ outlines the findings from the Gippsland Health Literacy Project which educated local health services staff about health literacy and provided tools and techniques for health literacy implementation in services.

This paper reports the outcomes of this project. Participants’ change in knowledge was measured through pre- and post-project surveys and interviews. Descriptive analysis of survey data and analysis of interviews using qualitative description enabled exploration of individual and organisational shifts in health literacy perspectives.

Healthcare professionals’ knowledge of health literacy has improved as a result of the health literacy education. Health service organisations are also taking greater responsibility for health literacy responsiveness in their services. Systematic changes to policy and procedures that support health literacy are required. Although health literacy education provides more accessible health care for consumers, where projects had executive-level support the changes implemented were more likely to be successful and sustainable.

For a copy of the full article please contact


  1. U.S. Department of Health Human Services, Healthy People 2010. Washington, DC: US Government Printing Office. Originally developed for Ratzan SC, Parker RM. 2000. Introduction, in National Library of Medicine Current Bibliographies in Medicine: Health Literacy. Selden CR, Zorn M, Ratzan SC, Parker RM, Editors. NLM Pub. No. CBM. 2000.
  2. Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care, National Statement on Health Literacy: Taking actions to improve safety and quality.

Go here to learn more about becoming a Health Literate Organisation

Go here to access health literate resources for clients