Field-Testing and Refinement of the Organisational Health Literacy Responsiveness Self-Assessment (Org-HLR) Tool and Process

Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2020 Feb 5;17(3):1000. doi: 10.3390/ijerph17031000.


Health literacy refers to the skills and knowledge that influence a person's ability to access, understand and use information to make health-related decisions, which are influenced by the complexity of their health needs and the demands health services place on them. The aim of this study was to field-test the Organisational Health Literacy Responsiveness (Org-HLR) tool and process to determine their utility in assessing health literacy responsiveness and for supporting organisations to plan health literacy-related improvement activities. Four organisations in Victoria, Australia, field-tested the Org-HLR tool. Data were collected through direct observation, participant feedback, and focus groups. Forty-three individuals participated in field-testing activities, and 20 took part in focus group meetings. Themes relating to the applicability and utility of the Org-HLR self-assessment tool and process were identified. Field-testing resulted in a number of refinements to the tool and process. Twenty-eight indicators were removed, 29 were rephrased to improve their clarity, and four new indicators were added. The revised Org-HLR self-assessment tool contains six dimensions, 22 sub-dimensions and 110 performance indicators. The Org-HLR tool and process were perceived as useful for assessing health literacy responsiveness, prioritising improvement activities, and establishing a benchmark for monitoring and evaluation of improvements over time. Testing generated an improved Org-HLR tool and assessment process that are likely to have utility across a broad range of health and social service sector organisations.

Keywords: Org-HLR self-assessment tool; access; health literacy; health literacy responsiveness; health service improvement; health systems; self-assessment.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Health Literacy / standards*
  • Humans
  • Self-Assessment*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires / standards*
  • Victoria