Skip Navigation Bar
National Library of Medicine Technical BulletinNational Library of Medicine Technical Bulletin

Table of Contents: 2015 MARCH–APRIL No. 403

Previous Next

Health Literacy Information Page and Search Updated

Zorn M, Wendling D. Health Literacy Information Page and Search Updated. NLM Tech Bull. 2015 Mar-Apr;(403):e4.

2015 April 15 [posted]

NLM updated the MEDLINE/PubMed Search and Health Literacy Information Resources page and its preformulated Health Literacy Special Query to keep pace with the growing body of relevant literature. The Health Literacy Special Query now retrieves additional citations to articles about numeracy, comprehension of informed consent, and health insurance comprehension.

Numeracy, informed consent, and health insurance comprehension are three aspects of health literacy researched with funding from the NIH. Linda Gynsberg described the attributes of numeracy at the July 2013 Institute of Medicine Health Literacy and Numeracy: A Workshop quoting the Cockcroft Committee attributes of being numerate. Sometimes called Quantitative Literacy (QL) or Quantitative Reasoning (QR), numeracy involves skills needed to select a health insurance plan, choose treatments, and understand medication instructions. MEDLINE/PubMed may contain citations to articles that discuss numeracy skills of clinicians—physicians, nurses, and other health professionals who must communicate with patients and the public.

Informed consent comprehension is of great interest to health literacy advocates and researchers who are concerned with how effectively health care providers communicate disease and treatment risks and benefits to patients. Among the more than 16,000 citations to articles with Informed Consent as a major descriptor, many citations don’t explicitly use the phrase "health literacy," but are conceptually tied to it. For example, the updated search now retrieves the article Informed consent for sacrocolpopexy: is counseling effective in achieving patient comprehension? Investigating the ability of consumers to understand and navigate health insurance options and benefits and how this impacts use of health services and health outcomes is another area of research currently funded (for example, see Preparedness of Americans for the Affordable Care Act).

The dynamic MEDLINE/PubMed health literacy search retrieves more than 8,000 citations to English language journal articles related to Health Literacy. We encourage you to use PubMed filters to limit to particular years, research or publication types. To limit citations to a particular subject (such as "decision making") use the Advanced Search features (see PubMed Help for Advanced Search).

The selected resources on the right side of the MEDLINE/PubMed Search and Health Literacy Information Resources page includes new links, such as:

We welcome feedback on the Health Literacy Information page. Send your comments to NLM Customer Service.

By Marcia Zorn and Dan Wendling
Reference and Web Services

NLM Technical Bulletin National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health