The state we are in: A (new) national approach to health literacy in Australia. Dr Nicola Dunbar


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Director of Strategy and Development, Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Healthcare.
Presentation given at "Health Literacy Network: Crossing Disciplines, Bridging Gaps", November 26, 2013. The University of Sydney.

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The state we are in: A (new) national approach to health literacy in Australia. Dr Nicola Dunbar

  1. 1. The state we are in: A (new) national approach to health literacy in Australia Nicola Dunbar, Health Literacy Network Conference, 26 November 2013
  2. 2. Where have we come from?  Goals and targets for Australia’s health – 1993  Lots of good work – but fragmented  Australian Bureau of Statistics report – 2008  Reflected in national policy and reform processes, such as: • National Health and Hospitals Reform Commission, 2009 • National Primary Care Strategy, 2010  Increasingly being recognised as a safety and quality issue
  3. 3. Australian Safety and Quality Framework for Health Care – 2010
  4. 4. Australian Safety and Quality Goals for Health Care – 2012
  5. 5. National health literacy stock take  Aim: collect information about health literacy initiatives in Australia  Timeframe: December 2011-March 2012  66 submissions, over 200 separate initiatives  There are many different organisations doing work to improve health literacy or reduce barriers  A range of different approaches are being taken  Efforts are fragmented with little potential for learning
  6. 6. Types of strategies and approaches
  7. 7. Consumers, the health system and health literacy: Taking action to improve safety and quality  Consultation paper released by the Commission in June 2013  Raise awareness about importance of health literacy and how it can be addressed  Proposes that to address health literacy in a coordinated way, then need to: • embed health literacy into high-level systems and organisational policies and practices • have clear, focused and usable health information and effective interpersonal communication • integrate health literacy into education for consumers and healthcare providers
  8. 8. Feedback on consultation
  9. 9. Feedback on consultation – How to address health literacy in the future  National coordination and collaboration in addressing health literacy • large scale national change, eg legislation, accreditation, regulation, national strategy, national action plan • re-engineering existing infrastructures and systems to embed health literacy • cultural and organisational change required  Support further research • build evidence base • increase understanding of health literacy in Australian health system • health literacy and vulnerable groups
  10. 10. Feedback on consultation – How to address health literacy in the future  Integration of health literacy into education and training • consumers • national curriculum for schools • healthcare providers (vocational, undergraduate, postgraduate) • support and administrative staff in healthcare organisations • professionals outside the health sector who have an influence in health settings
  11. 11. Feedback on health literacy – How to address health literacy in the future  Access to high quality information about health and health care • importance of technology – positive and negative • national clearing house • resources for consumers to evaluate information  Development of tools and resources • frameworks and action plans • successful initiatives / tools • targeted resources for vulnerable groups • training resources • case studies
  12. 12. Where to next  Commission: • final health literacy paper to Health Ministers for endorsement mid-2014 • health literacy environment – how to make it easier for people to navigate, access, understand and use health information and services • possible consensus statement, supported by tools and resources
  13. 13. We already have the beginnings of a national approach to health literacy…
  14. 14. National Safety and Quality Health Service Standards – from January 2013 Standard 1 Governance for Safety and Quality in Health Service Organisations Standard 2 Partnering with Consumers Standard 3 Healthcare Associated Infections Standard 10 Preventing Falls and Harm from Falls Standard 4 Medication Safety Standard 9 Recognising and Responding to Clinical Deterioration in Acute Health Care Standard 5 Patient Identification and Procedure Matching Standard 8 Preventing and Managing Pressure Injuries Standard 7 Blood and Blood Products Standard 6 Clinical Handover
  15. 15. National Safety and Quality Health Service Standards and health literacy Implementing processes to enable partnership with patients in decisions about their care Informing patients and carers about the risk of falls and falls prevention strategies Providing information to patients about how they can raise concerns about potential deterioration Informing high-risk patients and their carers about the risks, prevention strategies and management of pressure injuries The clinical workforce providing information about blood and blood product treatment options, and the associated risks and benefits Consulting with consumers on patient information distributed by the organisation Patient infection prevention and control information is evaluated to determine if it meets the needs of the target audience Information on medicines is provided in a format that is understood and meaningful
  16. 16. Summary  Consumers who are true partners in health and health care is a necessary requirement for a sustainable and effective system  Focussing on health literacy is one way of achieving this goal  Strong support for a coordinated and collaborative national approach  There is a lot of work that has been done already that can be built on  NSQHS Standards provide an important driver   Acknowledgements • Commission: Naomi Poole, Rhia Buick, Vannary Sar • Health Literacy Advisory Group • Submissions to the consultation paper