National Academy of Medicine

Attributes of a Health Literate Organization

By Cindy Brach, Benard Dreyer, Paul Schyve, Lyla M. Hernandez, Cynthia Baur, Andrew J. Lemerise, Ruth Parker
January 27, 2012 | Discussion Paper

What is a Health Literate Organization?

This paper describes ten attributes of a health literate organization, that is, an organization that makes it easier for people to navigate, understand, and use information and services to take care of their health. (See Table 1.) The health care system is very complex. Most people in the United States have difficulty understanding and using currently available health information and health services. This means there is an imbalance between the skills of people and the demands of the health care system.


Disclaimer: The views expressed in this paper are those of the authors and not necessarily of the authors’ organizations, the National Academy of Medicine (NAM), or the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (the National Academies). The paper is intended to help inform and stimulate discussion. It is not a report of the NAM or the National Academies. Copyright by the National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.