Document Type : Letter to the editor
Nasrin Abdi, PhD in Health Promotion and Education, Social Determinants of Health Research Center, Kurdistan University of Medical Sciences, Sanandaj, Iran
Ph.D. of Health Promotion, Professor, Department of Health Promotion and Education, Faculty of Health, Iran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran
Associate Professor, Department of Health Education and Promotion, School of Health, Isfahan University of Medical Sciences, Isfahan, Iran
Ph.D. of Health Promotion, associate Professor, Department of Health Promotion and Education, Faculty of Health, Tehran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran.
Background and objective: Various definitions of health literacy have developed gradually. This concept refers to individuals’ capacity to acquire, process and perceive information and basic healthcare services. The above items are required to make decisions on healthcare. In fact, improving both the individuals' access to health information and their capacity to use such information effectively are considered as efficient tools for community empowerment. In the domain of healthcare promotion, health literacy goes beyond the ability to read medical orders and use healthcare services. In the healthcare promotion approach, the emphasis is not put on disease experience or the appropriate use of medical services. Besides, the emphasis is put on the improvement of individuals' life conditions, and providing and promoting required resources for a better life. From the viewpoint of healthcare promotion, healthcare literacy is relegated to the individuals’ ability to make better decisions in the realm of health care. Health literacy approach must try to promote individuals' required knowledge and skills in the domain of healthcare determiners and the way to maintain and modify them. Looking at health education from an applied viewpoint, the final result of health education and communication is to increase the level of healthcare literacy. Reviewing various approaches, levels and types of healthcare literacy will pave the way to conduct researches in this domain.