The Health and Medicine Division of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (formerly the Institute of Medicine) has published a summary of a workshop on integrating health literacy, cultural competence, and language access services. Health care organizations are searching for approaches that will enable them to provide information and services to all persons from diverse backgrounds in terms of age, race, culture, and language skills, in a manner that facilitates understanding and use of information to make appropriate health decisions and utilize health care services effectively.
The workshop included presentations and discussions about the opportunities that the implementation of the Affordable Care Act and other health care delivery system changes are creating to support the integration of health literacy, cultural competence, and language access services. There also were presentations and discussions about the issues and challenges in such integration, and some real-world approaches that health care systems are taking to address those issues and challenges. Breakout groups focused on the implications of integration of health literacy, cultural competence, and language access services for research, for policy, and for services and care. In accordance with the policies of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, the workshop did not establish any conclusions or recommendations about needs and future directions, and the workshop summary only reports on issues identified by the speakers and workshop participants.
The October 2015 workshop was sponsored by the Roundtable on Health Literacy, which is planning followup activities.