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Introduction

The Institute of Medicine Roundtable on Health Literacy brings together leaders from the federal government, foundations, health plans, associations, and private companies to discuss challenges related to health literacy practice and research and to identify approaches to promoting health literacy in both the public and private sectors. The Roundtable also serves to educate the public, the press, and policy makers regarding issues related to health literacy. The Roundtable sponsors workshops for members and the public to discuss approaches to resolve key challenges.

Health literacy, “the degree to which individuals have the capacity to obtain, process, and understand basic health information and services needed to make appropriate health decisions” (Ratzan and Parker, 2000) has been shown to affect health outcomes (Berkman et al., 2004). The use of preventive services improves health and prevents costly health care expenditures (IOM, 2009). Several studies have found that health literacy makes a difference in the extent to which populations use preventive services. For example, Lillie and colleagues (2007) assessed health literacy levels and their relationship to the knowledge of and attitudes toward the use of information about the risks of breast cancer recurrence. They found that women with lower health literacy recalled less of the information provided.

On September 15, 2009, the Roundtable held a workshop to explore approaches to integrate health literacy into primary and secondary prevention. The role of the workshop planning committee was limited to developing the meeting agenda. This summary was prepared by the



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1 Introduction The Institute of Medicine Roundtable on Health Literacy brings together leaders from the federal government, foundations, health plans, associations, and private companies to discuss challenges related to health literacy practice and research and to identify approaches to promoting health literacy in both the public and private sectors. The Roundtable also serves to educate the public, the press, and policy makers regarding issues related to health literacy. The Roundtable sponsors workshops for members and the public to discuss approaches to resolve key challenges. Health literacy, “the degree to which individuals have the capacity to obtain, process, and understand basic health information and services needed to make appropriate health decisions” (Ratzan and Parker, 2000) has been shown to affect health outcomes (Berkman et al., 2004). The use of preventive services improves health and prevents costly health care expenditures (IOM, 2009). Several studies have found that health literacy makes a difference in the extent to which populations use preventive services. For example, Lillie and colleagues (2007) assessed health literacy levels and their relationship to the knowledge of and attitudes toward the use of information about the risks of breast cancer recurrence. They found that women with lower health literacy recalled less of the informa - tion provided. On September 15, 2009, the Roundtable held a workshop to explore approaches to integrate health literacy into primary and secondary pre- vention. The role of the workshop planning committee was limited to developing the meeting agenda. This summary was prepared by the 1

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2 PROMOTING HEALTH LITERACY rapporteurs as a factual account of the discussion that took place at the workshop. All views presented in the report are those of the individ - ual workshop participants and should not be construed as reflecting any group consensus. The workshop featured presentations and discussions on selected topics within the broader area of the role of health literacy in preven - tion as well as a commissioned paper on integrating health literacy into primary and secondary prevention strategies. The workshop was moder- ated by George Isham. The following pages summarize the workshop presentations and discussions. Chapter 2 describes work by the Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion on health literacy and pre - vention. Chapter 3 contains a presentation on the commissioned paper on integrating health literacy into primary and secondary prevention strategies along with responses by panel members and a general dis- cussion. Chapter 4 presents reactions to and discussion about the com- missioned paper. Chapter 5 describes the inclusion of health literacy into public health prevention programs at the national, state and local levels. Chapter 6 reviews how insurance companies factor health literacy into their prevention programs. Chapter 7 discusses industry contributions to providing health literate primary and secondary prevention. Chapter 8 focuses on the potential and challenges of highlighting health literacy and a general discussion that concluded the workshop.