The Centers of Disease Control and Prevention, as part of the release of Healthy People 2030, updated the definition of health literacy. The update now addresses Personal Health Literacy as well as Organizational Health Literacy and provides the following definitions:
Personal Health Literacy is the degree to which individuals have the ability to find, understand, and use information and services to inform health-related decisions and actions for themselves and others.
Organizational Health Literacy is the degree to which organizations equitably enable individuals to find, understand, and use information and services to inform health-related decisions and actions for themselves and others.
The new definitions reinforce the responsibility of organizations that provide access to employer-sponsored benefits to take the necessary actions to support Health Literacy within their workforce. It is important to implement on-going communication and engagement strategies that:
- Emphasize people’s ability to use health information rather than just understand it.
- Focus on the ability to make “well-informed” decisions rather than “appropriate” ones.
- Acknowledge that organizations have a responsibility to address health literacy.
The best methods for employee communication and education depend on the group demographics. It is important to consider multi-generational and multi-lingual approaches with any strategy, with a clear understanding of where carrier tools and technology can be leveraged.
The best next step for organizations is to consult with an advisor to start the conversation and determine the strategy that uniquely meets the needs of their employees and the organization.
DISCLAIMER: This update is general in nature. The information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice, financial advice and/or the advice of a licensed insurance or certified human resource professional.
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