The Global Atlas of Literacies for Health (GALH) is an online visualisation tool for teaching, research, practice and policy making in health care.
The Global Atlas of Literacies for Health is a resource that not only summarises the various literacy instruments but presents the empirical evidence for how the tools have been used or evaluated and best practice in (digital) health literacy across Europe and beyond.
The atlas is:
The atlas was developed to visually present the data from different (digital) health literacy scales, best practice, policy, interventions and initiatives on an interactive map. Users can filter data by population: adult, child and adolescence, health workforce, or select to present only country or region level data.
It is part of the project called Improving Digital Empowerment for Active Healthy Living (IDEAHL) that has received funding by the Horizon Europe Framework Program under GA 101057477. (See Buhl Povlsen M, Brun Thorup C, Schack Thoft D, Korsbakke Emtekær Hæsum L, Valkama K, Uitto M, et al. D1.1. Report on (d)HL WP1. IDEAHL)
The information sources considered for the GALH come from the IDEAHL scoping reviews conducted from 2017 to July 2023 and include: (1) Published articles based on research in HL and dHL, (2) non-academic works and initiatives, (3) key EU policies and (4) projects/EU Projects.
The Improving Digital Empowerment for Active Healthy Living (IDEAHL 2023) project identified models and approaches of (digital) health literacy. The project first extracted relevant literature from 2017-2022 that published the literacy rate using the various tools across Europe, and country level documents about best practice, policy, interventions and initiatives were generated.
The objectives of the review were to map EU (d)HL research to assess the interconnections between (d)HL contribution and health, healthy living, and the well-being of citizens, to Map (d)HL practices and identify best practices, and champions and to review existing monitoring mechanisms and indicators and synthesize data to assess EU (d)HL levels. (See: Buhl Povlsen M, Brun Thorup C, Schack Thoft D, Korsbakke Emtekær Hæsum L, Valkama K, Uitto M, et al. D1.1. Report on (d)HL WP1. IDEAHL.)
The data available comes from the information sources of the GALH and includes the following categories.
For monitoring levels of digital health literacy (dHL) and health literacy: country, population, scale, first author, country coverage, HL or dHL, reference, note
For best practice, policy, interventions, projects and initiatives: country, year, title, lead organisation, status, international/national/regional, public or private, type (report, book, dissertation, project, website, etc.), HL, dHL, other, age group, target group, level (individual, family, community, group, society, organisational), sector (academia, education, industry, public health), tool or scale, champion/survivor, reference, note.
Scales refer to monitoring and evaluation tools, methods, and frameworks in (d)HL that are validated and published in peer-reviewed journals; they measure/quantify individuals’ (d)HL and organisations’ HL and (d)HL environments covering different target populations and services (e.g., the HLS-EU questionnaire, the eHL Assessment toolkit -eHLA- and the eHL Questionnaire -eHLQ-, HLQ, BRIEF, etc). A health literacy scale is a standardised questionnaire or survey designed to capture various aspects of health literacy, such as the ability to understand and use health information, navigate healthcare systems, and make informed decisions about health. These scales typically consist of a series of questions or statements that respondents rate or respond to, providing quantitative data on their health literacy abilities. Health literacy scales are valuable in research, evaluation, and intervention efforts, helping to identify gaps, track progress and tailor interventions to improve health literacy and promote better health outcomes. The GALH compiles different types of scales that measure (d)HL. To see a complete description of the scale and how it is implemented you could either see the reference and read the study where it was applied or visit the Health Literacy Tool Shed (bu.edu) (Boston University, 2023) where you can find detailed information on HL scales.
Data from the GALH can be used to build interactive map views. These can be exported, used and shared across a range of channels including new publications, reports, conferences, workshops and teaching activities, websites and social media. The aim of the GALH is to be widely used in teaching, research and policymaking in healthcare.
The GALH can be used by educators, researchers, policy makers, practitioners, civil society and patient organisations, and citizens who have an interest in the field of (d)HL.
Understanding trends in different literacy scales for a region can inform scholarly teaching needs, research and policy making, heath care patient needs and citizens. Different literacy needs can be targeted in curriculum and research development, health programs, policy and care depending on the discipline and regional needs. In the area of health, it is important to not only develop the health and digital literacy rates knowledge in general but to clearly understand the literacy rates of the different target populations that will eventually receive treatment and care and be subject of policies and interventions. Yet, there are over one hundred different literacy tools available, as shown in the Health Literacy Tool Shed (Boston University 2023, Health Literacy Tool Shed (bu.edu)). The GALH, then, is developed as tool that not only summarises the various literacy scales but presents the empirical evidence for how they have been used or evaluated in different geographical regions, best practice, interventions and initiatives so that the users can understand and evaluate.
The GALH considers information sources derived from the IDEAHL scoping reviews conducted between 2017 and July 2022. If you are aware of any scientific publications, best practices, policies, interventions, or initiatives related to HL or dHL that have been published after that period and that you would like to see included in future updates, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Disclaimer. Funded by the European Union. Views and opinions expressed are those of the author(s) only and do not necessarily reflect those of the European Union or the European Health and Digital Executive Agency (HADEA). Neither the European Union nor the grating authority can be held responsible for them.