Format

Send to

Choose Destination
Health Policy. 2019 Jan;123(1):11-20. doi: 10.1016/j.healthpol.2018.11.012. Epub 2018 Nov 27.

Framing health literacy: A comparative analysis of national action plans.

Author information

1
Hertie School of Governance, Friedrichstraße 180, 10117, Berlin, Germany. Electronic address: hweishaar@googlemail.com.
2
Hertie School of Governance, Friedrichstraße 180, 10117, Berlin, Germany. Electronic address: hurrelmann@hertie-school.org.
3
Bielefeld University, Universitätsstraße 25, 33615, Bielefeld, Germany. Electronic address: orkan.okan@uni-bielefeld.de.
4
Bielefeld University, Universitätsstraße 25, 33615, Bielefeld, Germany. Electronic address: annett.horn@uni-bielefeld.de.
5
Bielefeld University, Universitätsstraße 25, 33615, Bielefeld, Germany. Electronic address: doris.schaeffer@uni-bielefeld.de.

Abstract

Population and individual deficits in health literacy, and their associated negative health outcomes, have received growing attention in the political arena in recent years. In order to respond to the problem, several governments have adopted national action plans, which outline strategies to improve health literacy. Drawing on the action plans of the USA, Australia, Scotland, and Wales and applying Entman's concept of framing, this paper analyses how health literacy debates are framed within the political arena as well as the factors that influence framing. Analysing data from policy documents and in-depth expert interviews, this paper identifies relevant frames developed to (i) define the problem of limited health literacy, (ii) provide causal explanations, (iii) rationalise why health literacy requires political action, and (iv) present solutions. The findings indicate that the malleability of the concept allows that a diversity of frames and solutions are promoted, yet risks that debates remain vague. Health literacy seems to have been successfully used to instigate political debates about health system reforms, patient empowerment, and shared decision making. The analysis suggests that health literacy might, if applied strategically, help to focus policy debates on key public health problems and the development of systemic solutions.

KEYWORDS:

Framing; Health care; Health literacy; Health policy; Patient empowerment

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Elsevier Science
Loading ...
Support Center