The Centre for Health Literacy works specifically on creating a sound data basis on health literacy, both at population and organisational level. For example, Careum collected data on the health literacy of the Swiss population on behalf of the Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH) and in international cooperation. In collaboration with the Health Department of the Canton of Zurich, data on the health literacy of the Zurich population was also collected regionally, and the national survey on the professional health literacy of health professionals took place in summer 2022.
Center for Health Literacy
With a center for health literacy, Careum aims to achieve health literacy in Switzerland. We want people to navigate health information more effectively and make decisions that have a positive impact on their health.
The health care system has become increasingly complex in recent years, while heath information is now a ubiquitous presence thanks to digital transformation. These developments make it harder to navigate the health care system and get your head around health information.
Not to mention the fact that, ever since the coronavirus pandemic took hold, people have been bombarded with a veritable flood of health information which can sometimes be contradictory or incorrect. This leaves people having to contend with a series of major challenges when dealing with health information and the health care system. That is why health literacy is an extremely important factor of health.
Center for health literacy
Good health literacy allows people to lead a self-determined life, whether they are in good or poor health. However, previous studies show that a large part of the population has problems dealing with health information and thus a low level of health literacy.
That is why Careum is committed to putting the framework conditions in place to elevate levels of health literacy in Switzerland. We see ourselves as a competence centre and are keen to join forces with national and international partners to contribute to promoting the health literacy of the general public and of organisations operating in the health care, social services and education sectors.
Establishing basic principles
Projects with partners
In addition to laying the foundations, Careum also implements specific projects in collaboration with a variety of partners to boost levels of health literacy. This calls for measures and approaches that assess peoples’ personal skills (individual health literacy) on the one hand, and situational requirements and the complexities of their systems, organisations and living environments (organisational health literacy) on the other.
Target groups and networks
The target groups of our projects and measures are varied, and can range from individuals and specific sections of the population through to specialist personnel, organisations and politicians. That is why the Center for Health Literacy of Careum maintains links with a host of different partners and operates in a variety of networks.
As part of the “Health Literacy Zurich” programme, we work with the Department of Health of the Canton of Zurich and the Epidemiology, Biostatistics and Prevention Institute at the University of Zurich. At national level, we also cooperate with the Federal Office of Public Health, Health Promotion Switzerland, Allianz Gesundheitskompetenz and a range of other partners. But we do have strong international networks too. For example, we are a member of the DACH Health Literacy Initiative, the World Health Organization’s so-called M-POHL network and the International Health Literacy Association.