AHRQ-funded researchers have developed two tools to measure an aspect of health literacy—individuals' reading comprehension in a medical context. These tools can be used for research, clinical, or program planning purposes: Rapid Estimate of Adult Literacy in Medicine—Short Form (REALM-SF) and the Short Assessment of Health Literacy for Spanish Adults (SAHLSA-50). Both include instructions for administration.
The Health Literacy Tool Shed is an online database of measures of individual’s health literacy. The site contains information about measures, including their psychometric properties, based on a review of the peer-reviewed literature.
A bilingual (English and Spanish) screening tool that identifies patients at risk for low health literacy. The tool can be administered in a clinical setting in three minutes. Test results provide information about the patient that allow providers to appropriately adapt their communication practices in an effort to achieve better health outcomes.
The REALM-SF is a 7-item word recognition test to provide clinicians with a valid quick assessment of patient health literacy. The REALM-SF has been validated and field tested in diverse research setting, and has excellent agreement with the 66-item REALM instrument in terms of grade-level assignments.
The TOFHLA is available from Peppercorn Press. The numeracy section of the TOFHLA measures the patient’s ability to understand and act on numerical directions given by a health-care provider or pharmacist.