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Understanding Health Literacy

Updated: Jan 23, 2023

Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care, 2014, defines health literacy as "the skills, knowledge, motivation and capacity of a person to access, understand, appraise and apply information to make effective decisions about health and health care and take appropriate action.”

Yet only 2 in 5 Australians are easily able to understand health information well enough to effectively manage their own health. Evidence demonstrates that there is a strong link between low health literacy and a number of important social determinants of health, such as, lower levels of education; lower socioeconomic status; older populations; populations with culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds.

Australian Institute of Health and Welfare have identified that populations with low health literacy are at a higher risk of demonstrating:

  • Low engagement with health services;

  • Participation in negative health behaviours;

  • Poorer overall health outcomes;

  • Decreased ability to self-manage conditions;

  • Higher hospital admissions

  • Higher hospital re-admission rates.

Providing improved access to suitable health education is known to reduce health inequalities and improve clinical health outcomes of all populations. Which is why IPCIUM are working hard to support primary health care systems by developing evidence-based, high quality and accessible digital health care solutions.

IPCIUM are focused upon empowering individuals living with chronic disease, with the knowledge, skills and tools required to improve their health literacy and achieve healthier and more productive lives.

Image reproduced with permission from the Health literacy for consumers - Infographic, developed by the Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care (ACSQHC). ACSQHC: Sydney 2019

For reference, IPCIUM have utilised the following resources:


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