Portrait Careum Gesundheitskompetenz

Center for Health Literacy

With a Center for Health Literacy, Careum is pursuing the goal of a health literate Switzerland. The population should be empowered to deal with health-related information, services and challenges and make decisions that have a positive impact on their own and others’ health and well-being.

The health system has become increasingly complex in recent years. At the same time, knowledge about health and the amount of health information have increased enormously. These developments make it more difficult to navigate the health system and deal with health information and place high demands on individuals and society as a whole. In order to cope with all of these challenges, the population needs a sufficient level of health literacy. Health literacy is therefore a key factor for people's health and well-being.

Center for Health Literacy

Among other things, a high level of health literacy enables people to lead a self-determined life in both good and impaired health. However, previous studies show that a large proportion of the population has difficulties in dealing with health information and correspondingly reports a low health literacy.

Careum is therefore committed to creating and promoting the necessary framework conditions to strengthen health literacy in Switzerland. The Center for Health Literacy sees itself as a competence center and, in cooperation with national and international partners, contributes to strengthening the health literacy of the population, professionals, organizations as well as systems, particularly in the health, social and education sectors.


Focus on health literacy

What is health literacy? What is behind it and how Careum is driving the topic forward.

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Our vision

We are the competence center for health literacy in Switzerland and drive the topic forward at the cutting edge. We further develop health literacy, provide orientation and actively support and shape decisions in the health and social sector.

Our areas of activity

  • Research: Generating and communicating knowledge

    The Center for Health Literacy works specifically on creating and expanding a sound data basis on health literacy, at population, organizational and system level. Based on the research findings, the Center for Health Literacy develops recommendations and measures for action with the involvement of relevant stakeholders. By publishing and presenting its findings and participating in public discussions and events, the Center for Health Literacy helps to raise awareness of the importance of health literacy.

  • Practice: Transferring and implementing knowledge

    The Center for Health Literacy derives practical measures from the research findings and the resulting recommendations. Accordingly, specific projects are also carried out in cooperation with various partners. The aim is to improve the quality of healthcare, provide health professionals with targeted further training and empower patients and their relatives to make informed decisions. This in turn can lead to more effective and efficient treatments, better health outcomes, greater satisfaction among patients and health professionals and ultimately to costs reduction in the health system.

  • Policy: Raising awareness and setting the agenda

    The political level must also be involved in strengthening health literacy. This can generate more freedom of action, financial resources and legislative changes, which will help to strengthen health literacy on a broad scale. However, this requires that political actors and decision-makers understand the need to strengthen health literacy and integrate it into their strategies and actions. This is why the Center for Health Literacy promotes a comprehensive understanding of the concept through its services and projects and drives the integration of the topic into the agendas especially of the health, social and education sectors.

Target groups and project partners

The target groups of our projects and measures vary and can range from individuals to specific population groups, professionals, organizations and decision-makers. The Center for Health Literacy cooperates with various local, national and international partners and is active in various networks.

In the program "Health Literacy Zurich" (in German Gesundheitskompetenz Zürich), the Center for Health Literacy works together with the Department of Health of the Canton of Zurich and the Institute for Epidemiology, Biostatistics and Prevention at the University of Zurich. At national level, we cooperate with the FOPH, Health Promotion Switzerland, the Health Literacy Alliance (in German Allianz Gesundheitskompetenz) and other partners. The Center for Health Literacy is also very well connected internationally. Among others, it is a member of the DACH Health Literacy Initiative (an initiative of the German-speaking countries), the M-POHL network of the World Health Organization (WHO) and the International Health Literacy Association (IHLA).