Promoting Health Literacy

Promoting Health Literacy

At Servier, we believe that:

  • Everyone has the right to access health information that helps him/her to make informed decisions.
  • Health services should be accessible in a manner that is understandable and beneficial to health and quality of life.


We think improving health literacy is essential. To achieve this goal, we have to communicate in everyday language.



What is Health Literacy ?

Health literacy is the capacity to obtain, process, and understand basic health information and services needed to make appropriate health decisions.


Health literacy depends on different factors:

  • Communication skills of lay people and professionals
  • Lay and professional knowledge of health topics, etc.


Low health literacy affects people’s ability to:

  • Find their way around the healthcare system.
  • Share personal information, such as their health history.
  • Manage their own care and chronic disease.
  • Understand health risk.

Health literacy includes numeracy skills. For example, calculating cholesterol and blood sugar levels, measuring medications, and understanding nutritional labels, all require some maths skills.


Developing plain language documents.

Plain language is an important tool for making written and oral information easier to understand. It should allow users to understand the first time they read or hear it. Lay documents should achieve 3 objectives:

  • The patient can easily find the information he/she needs.
  • He/she can understand what he/she finds.
  • He/she can act appropriately on that understanding


To ensure our documents are readable, we use the Flesch-Kincaid readability tests. The Flesch-Kincaid Grade presents a score as a U.S. grade level. We have made a commitment that documents intended for patients should be written with 8th grade students in mind. The 8th grade corresponds to eight years of formal schooling (13-14 years old).


For example, texts from this website are around the 8th grade.



Package leaflet.

Since 2006 in Europe, our package leaflet has reflected the results of consultations with target patient groups to ensure that it is legible, clear and easy to use.

We comply with the European Commission Guidelines on Readability.



Informed consent form (ICF) and lay summaries.

Before joining a study, participants must give their consent. The ICF is a written document that aims to inform a participant about the purpose, procedures, potential benefits and risks of the studies. This document should be written in simple language understandable to the participants.


At the end of the study, we may write a lay summary of the clinical study report intended for the general public. The lay summary is a summary of the report written in plain language.




See also:

>  Health Literacy – Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

>  Health Literacy – Public Health Agency of Canada

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