Health Literacy Self-Assessment

Health Literacy Self-Assessment
Research health literacy assessment tools and select one with which to complete a self-
assessment. In a narrative of 750-1,000 words, include the following:
A description of the health literacy assessment tool you selected, including your rationale
for selecting it, its applicability, strengths, and limitations.
A summary of the findings of your self-assessment, including ease of use, and overall
An outline of how your results can help in understanding, assessing, and improving health
literacy for others.
A description of one evidence-based strategy for the development of health messages that
would be beneficial for those with low health literacy.
Incorporate three to five resources to support your written narrative.

Health Literacy Self-Assessment

The ability of healthcare professionals to communicate with clients defined by low health
literacy levels is pegged upon their ability to recognize such a shortcoming in a bid to establish a
shame-free and patient-centered healthcare environment. Patients often feel ashamed whenever
they have limited health literacy, a reason why they tend to utilize their coping strategies as a
means of masking their weaknesses, and this hinders the achievement of treatment outcomes.
However, healthcare professionals should engage in self-assessment to determine their health
literacy levels as well because this ascertains whether they are best-suited to attend to clients
from different cultural backgrounds. There are numerous tools used for health literacy self-
screening, but the Rapid Estimate for of Adult Literacy in Medicine (REALM) is regarded as the
gold standard.



According to Ibrahim and colleagues (2018), REALM is one of the best screening tools
used to measure the ability of adults to read the common healthcare words which define body
parts and everyday illnesses. It is also designed to assess the literacy levels of healthcare
professionals because they are required to screen patients with the goal of establishing the
appropriate education materials that must be provided to enhance patient outcomes. The rationale
for selection of this tool is based on the ease of use because the screening time is three minutes.
It is a 7-item word recognition test which offers clinicians a quick summary of the patients’
literacy levels (Ibrahim et al., 2018). It is field-tested and validated in various research settings
because it pays attention to the common words that providers use when communicating with
their patients, and this is poised to aid in improving communication between the parties involved.

Applicability, Strengths, and Limitations

Considering the research studies conducted to validate the REALM health assessment
tool, it is apparent that it is associated with construct, criterion, and face validity (Ibrahim et al.,
2018). It is a tool that is applicable across all healthcare setting because scholars assert that it
correlates highly with all the measures of health literacy. It requires individuals to read or
recognize medical words in the order of increasing complexity, with the inference that it is not
meant to determine one’s reading proficiency alone but also a comprehensive understanding of
healthcare services. The tool has a high level of construct validity because it takes into account
differences in people’s levels of education and employment status, a reason why it is believed to
be inclusive (Ibrahim et al., 2018). The association between health literacy scores, education, and
employment status is statistically significant in the measure of health literacy, an aspect which
makes it a gold standard in such self-assessments.


The ease and speed of administering this tool in the screening process means that it can
be applied in everyday clinical practice. It will aid in pointing out patients with low health
literacy levels, such that they are given adequate time and educational resources that will help
them in developing the skills needed to understand health education. As a downside, however,
the tool is not representative of all the factors which go into the assessment of health literacy.
Whereas it captures aspects of vocabulary and the understanding of health information, it
overlooks aspects such as multicultural competence and cultural understanding which facilitate
the patient-clinician relationship. It is also believed to be too simplistic because health literacy is
a complex phenomenon affected by variables such as age, gender, education, religion, and sexual
orientation unless such variables are taken into account, therefore, it is barely possible to come
up with an elaborate self-assessment report.

Usability of the Results

The results from this health assessment tool will be essential in determining the amount
of time required to understand patients and pass across essential healthcare information. Aspects
such as medical errors and hospital readmissions are prevalent because of miscommunication
between patients and healthcare service providers (Ibrahim et al., 2018). With such an
assessment, therefore, patients will be accorded the resources needed to understand healthcare
information and facilitate change as a means of enhancing health outcomes.

Evidence-Based Strategy

One of the evidence-based strategies that will help in formulating health messages is the
linking of population health messages with societal values (Booske, 2015). Research indicates
that population messages which reflect societal values are more persuasive. In the United States,


for example, the healthcare messages which insist on personal responsibility are more persuasive
than those which do not. This is because health is assumed to be a personal issue in the United
States. Within populations where health is construed as a communal affair, however, the health
messages should be based on collectivism in order to appeal to the target audience (Booske,
2015). Such settings require messages that advocate for a collective approach to hygiene,
physical activity, and vaccination.
In summary, health literacy self-assessment is an essential component in healthcare
because it influences health outcomes. The Rapid Estimate for of Adult Literacy in Medicine
(REALM) is a tool which is commonly used in such assessments to screening the reading
proficiency of various patients as a way of determining their understanding. It is validated for use
in various settings, a reason why information obtained from such assessments plays a critical role
in improving the quality of healthcare services offered.




Booske, E. (2015). Communicating to Advance the Public’s Health. National Academy of Sciences .
Ibrahim, S. Y., Reid, F., Shaw, A., Rowlands, G., Gomez, G. B., Chesnokov, M., & Ussher, M.
(2018). Validation of a Health Literacy Screening Tool (REALM) in a UK Population with
Coronary Heart Disease. Journal of Public Health, 30(4), 449–455.

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