Health literacy education for rural health professionals: Shifting perspectives

Sarah Finlay, Elizabeth Meggetto, Anske Robinson, Claire Davis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)


Health literacy is a major issue for improving health outcomes of clients. In rural Victoria, Australia, the Gippsland Health Literacy Project (GHLP) educated local health services staff about health literacy and provided tools and techniques for health literacy implementation in services. This paper reports the outcomes of this project. Participants' change in knowledge was measured through pre-and post-project surveys and interviews. Descriptive analysis of survey data and analysis of interviews using qualitative description enabled exploration of individual and organisational shifts in health literacy perspectives. Healthcare professionals' knowledge of health literacy has improved as a result of the health literacy education. Health service organisations are also taking greater responsibility for health literacy responsiveness in their services. Systematic changes to policy and procedures that support health literacy are required. Although health literacy education provides more accessible health care for consumers, where projects had executive-level support the changes implemented were more likely to be successful and sustainable. What is known about this topic?: Low health literacy is a strong predictor of health status and it is important for health organisations to ensure they provide health care and information in a way that can be understood, interpreted and acted on by all clients, regardless of their health literacy levels. What does this paper add?: This paper presents findings on staff training and resources that can effectively support staff to improve health literacy practices. What are the implications for practitioners?: Addressing health literacy issues appears to result in more accessible health care for consumers. Executive support and health literacy champions are key requirements to successfully address health literacy issues.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberAH18019
Pages (from-to)404-407
Number of pages4
JournalAustralian Health Review
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2019


  • organisational health literacy

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