Meeting a Need—How Addressing Online Health Literacy Serves You and Your Customers

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The Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion provides a free health literacy “how-to” guide to help organizations address the increasing demand for easy-to-read, easy-to-understand, online health information.

Health Literacy Online Guide

That’s why it’s so important that online information be easy to understand and use. At ODPHP, we are working to address this issue on our own Web sites, and we hope the tips and tools in Health Literacy Online will help others do the same.

More Americans go online for health information than ever before but more than half of them face barriers that make such information inaccessible; more specifically, as many as 9 out of 10 Americans have limited health literacy skills. This means they have trouble understanding complex health information. As more health information and services move online, Web developers and professionals must find new and better ways to communicate health information to the public.

To address this growing need, HHS recently published Health Literacy Online: A Guide to Creating Easy to Use Health Web Sites. This research-based guide builds upon current best practices in Web design and usability by offering strategies, insights, and tips on incorporating health literacy principles into website and content development. To learn more, download the Health Literacy Online guide.

“The Web is a go-to source for people to find health information,” said RADM Penelope Slade-Sawyer, P.T., M.S.W., Director, Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. “That’s why it’s so important that online information be easy to understand and use. At ODPHP, we are working to address this issue on our own Web sites, and we hope the tips and tools in Health Literacy Online will help others do the same.”

About the Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion:
The Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, within the United States Department of Health and Human Services, coordinates the website healthfinder.gov as well as the National Health Information Center. The Quick Guide to Healthy Living, part of healthfinder.gov, recently won the 2010 ClearMark Award for the best plain language public sector website from the Center for Plain Language.

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RADM Penelope Slade-Sawyer, P.T., M.S.W.
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