Category Archives: Patient and Public Information TaF

Health Literacy Month

October is Health Literacy Month. For the last 20 years, organisations across the world have used October as an opportunity to raise awareness of health literacy.

So what is health literacy?

Health literacy is the ability to access, understand, appraise and use health information to make health-related decisions. In the UK, we know from work by Gill Rowlands that 43% adults struggle with text-based health information; rising to 61% if the health information includes numbers as well as text.

Health and social care staff need to be aware of health literacy issues to support access to information. Techniques such as “teach back” and “chunk and check” can increase understanding and the ability of individuals to own decisions about their health and wellbeing.

What is the local impact? This Health Literacy Month we are launching borough-level data on health literacy levels, for textual content and for health information that includes both text and numbers. This is analysis provided by Gill Rowlands and academic colleagues at the University of Southampton. We hope that this dataset will enable you to raise the profile of the issue locally and to prioritise activity.

What can NHS library and knowledge services do?

NHS library and knowledge services are well placed to advise colleagues on techniques to support people with low health literacy, to sign-post to patient information materials and to provide training. The health literacy toolkit includes a range of resources and guidance on techniques. We are currently cascading training to library and knowledge services staff, with a suite of materials in development to use in 2020.

How can I use Health Literacy Month?

Health Literacy Month provides an opportunity to have conversations about health literacy. These may be conversations within your service, using the toolkit to assess how you might be more health-literacy friendly. Or, they may be conversations with colleagues in other departments, or with partner organisations. There are international resources available to help you to add profile to Health Literacy Month.

If you would like to share ideas, do get in touch. Ruth Carlyle, Ruth.Carlyle@hee.nhs.uk, Strategic Lead NHS library and knowledge services – East of England and Midlands

Evaluating Health Information Week 2019 (#HIW2019)

Health Information Week takes place between 1st-7th July 2019. So, what impact do you want your contribution to make?

We all know it’s important to evaluate impact, to show what benefit there is from putting time and resources into an event like #HIW2019. However, #HIW2019 hasn’t happened yet – so why are we thinking about evaluating it now? It’s really important to think about what you want your contribution to #HIW2019 to achieve now, so you can plan how you will collect the data to assess whether you have successfully achieved the impact you were planning for. Perhaps you want to encourage a behaviour change by highlighting ways to have a healthy lifestyle or encourage people to take up a particular call to action?  Identifying the impact you want your information to have early on, and how you will measure it, will make it much easier to demonstrate the value of investing the time and resources involved.

Some of the data you might want to collect:

  • Numbers: How many people attended your event(s)? How many took up free health checks (weight, blood pressure, etc.)? How many took leaflets, asked questions, or made health pledges? How many people interacted with your social media posts? Did service use change? Did any local newspapers or other media report on your event?
  • Qualitative data: What impact do patients and members of the public say #HIW2019 had for them? What did they learn? What questions did they ask? What impact do colleagues and contacts from your own and other organisations describe from #HIW2019 ? Are they willing to provide quotes?
  • Photos: Photos of your event or display can give the feel of your event in a way that words can’t (although do bear in mind the need for appropriate consent when taking photos)
  • Other information: What worked well? Which contacts have you made within your own or other organisations? What has happened as a result? What would you do differently next time?
  • The #HIW2018 evaluation also gives some examples of the types of information and data you could collect.

There’s a number of ways you can collect data and share your #HIW2019 evaluations:

However you choose to evaluate #HIW2019 , please share it with the national team at healthinfoweek@gmail.com or via the survey. We will collate all the information, so learning can be shared nationally and everybody working with information for patients and the public can benefit from your work!

Updated 4 June 2019

Health Information Week 2019 – Monday 1 – Sunday 7 July 2019

Post Updated 19 June 2019

Helping patients and the public find high quality health information!

Health Information Week is a national, multi-sector campaign to promote high quality information for patients and the public. High quality health information can have a huge impact on people’s ability to stay healthy and manage illnesses effectively, giving them a better quality of life.

Preparing for Health Information Week 2019 (1st- 7th July 2019)

We’re excited to announce that the Health Information Week 2019 (#HIW2019) themes are:

  • Monday 1st July: Healthy lifestyles
  • Tuesday 2nd July: Mental health; and patient stories
  • Wednesday 3rd July: Health and digital literacy
  • Thursday 4th July: Long term conditions; and social prescribing
  • Friday 5th July: Innovations for preventing illness
  • Saturday 6th July: Patient stories
  • Sunday 7th July: Mindfulness and relaxation

You may want to use all the themes at once, or focus on a couple – whatever works for you! The national #HIW2019 team will suggest information resources for each theme in advance, and will Tweet them on the day using #HIW2019

If you are a patient information provider, or work in a public library, NHS library, or any other organisation with an interest in high quality health information for patients, you can start planning now. #HIW2019 is a great opportunity to work with colleagues in and outside your organisation. It’s part of public libraries’ Universal Health Offer, and the Patient and Public Information strand of the NHS Knowledge for Healthcare Framework. Think about:

  • Who might want to work with you from your organisation? For example, public health (local councils); PALS, patient information, Trust membership teams (NHS organisations); or anybody else with an interest. Why not contact them about working together for #HIW2019?
  • What other organisations might like to work with you? For example, NHS libraries, public libraries, health charities, hospices, medical writers, key influencers on the themes above or anybody else working with patients locally. Why not contact them about working together for #HIW2019?
  • What impact do you want your involvement in #HIW2019 to have? As always, we’ll evaluate #HIW2019 afterwards, to make #HIW2020 even bigger and better. Impacts in previous years have included:
    • raising awareness of specific resources such as local support groups, Books on Prescription, or the NHS website
    • helping individuals with their health information queries
    • motivating and enthusing people to look for high quality health information
  • Why not follow @Healthinfoweek on Twitter? We’re planning to crowdspeak to make an impact on social media – look out for more information on getting involved.

If you have any questions now, contact the #HIW2019 team on: healthinfoweek@gmail.com