of Physicians Foundation on areas of possible collaboration. Furthermore, as part of their monthly conference calls, the Task Force is scheduling case study presentations from member organizations to share information on major issues related to health literacy, thereby providing an opportunity to learn what is working and to make available different resources and tools in health literacy improvement.

In April 2008, the Task Force, along with AHIP’s personal health records task force, evolved a checklist of reader- and user-friendly web design for health plans (http://www.ahip.org/content/default.aspx?docid=22865) and held a web seminar on the topic. More than 200 individuals participated. These participants included individuals responsible for health literacy efforts in health plans as well as web designers, information technology specialists, and those responsible for personal health records.

The Task Force also sponsored an all-day training session in June 2008 that attracted 100 individuals from health plans across the country who are starting or building health literacy programs in their organizations. The 6-hour program included case studies providing background information about issues in health literacy reported by various member plans.

AHIP also recently transformed that training session into a series of three webinars to extend its reach. The faculty for this series includes a nationally renowned health literacy expert and professionals from a variety of disciplines and health insurance plans who have helped build capacity for clear health communication organizations. The three-part virtual seminar on health literacy can be found on the AHIP website (http://www.ahip.org/virtual/healthliteracy). It includes a session that provides a health literacy overview and steps for implementing a program, a session on starting up and advancing a company health literacy program, and a session on health literacy campaigns that provides case studies from national health insurance plans.

The AHIP board proposed four key steps toward creating a culture of clear health communication. AHIP recently surveyed its member companies to determine the current level of adoption of these four key steps. Results of that survey should be available in late spring of 2009. The four steps include the following:

  1. Create responsibility for health literacy at an appropriate level in the organization;

  2. Adopt a consistent approach to clear health communication;

  3. Provide training in clear health communication for staff who prepare written communications for members and interact with members directly; and

  4. Adopt a target reading level for written consumer communications

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