Review of organizational health literacy practice at health care centers: outcomes, barriers and facilitators

Elham Charoghchian Khorasani, Seyedeh Belin Tavakoly Sany, Hadi Tehrani, Hassan Doosti, Nooshin Peyman*

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

    32 Citations (Scopus)
    16 Downloads (Pure)


    The term organizational health literacy (OHL) is a new concept that emerged to address the challenge of predominantly in patients with limited health literacy (HL). There is no consensus on how OHL can improve HL activities and health outcomes in healthcare organizations. In this study, a systematic review of the literature was conducted to understand the evidence for the effectiveness of OHL and its health outcome, and the facilitators and barriers that influence the implementation of OHL. A literature search was done using six databases, the gray literature method and reference hand searches. Thirteen potentially articles with data on 1254 health organizations were included. Eight self-assessment tools and ten OHL attributes have been identified. Eleven quality-improvement characteristics and 15 key barriers were reviewed. Evidence on the effectiveness of HL tools provides best practices and recommendations to enhance OHL capacities. Results indicated that shifting to a comprehensive OHL would likely be a complex process because HL is not usually integrated into the healthcare organization’s vision and strategic planning. Further development of OHL requires radical, simultaneous, and multiple changes. Thus, there is a need for the healthcare system to consider HL as an organizational priority, that is, be responsive.

    Original languageEnglish
    Article number7544
    Pages (from-to)1-16
    Number of pages16
    JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
    Issue number20
    Publication statusPublished - 16 Oct 2020

    Bibliographical note

    Copyright the Author(s) 2020. Version archived for private and non-commercial use with the permission of the author/s and according to publisher conditions. For further rights please contact the publisher.


    • organizational health literacy
    • health literacy
    • health outcome
    • quality improvement
    • barriers
    • public health
    • health-literate healthcare service


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