European Commission logo
English English
CORDIS - EU research results

Health Literacy, readability, and informed consent in Greece & Europe

Final Activity Report Summary - HLREADGR (Health literacy, readability, and informed consent in Greece & Europe)

This project explored health literacy, readability, and informed consent issues in Greece and Europe.

The importance of health literacy has been established in medical literature in relation to health behaviour motivation as well as health outcomes, but little is known about health literacy in Europe, including Greece. People with low health literacy are likelier to report poor health, likelier to not fully understand their health problems and treatment, and are at higher risk for hospitalisation. Some research has been done on readability levels in languages other than English, but little has been done regarding the importance of readability and overall health literacy for improving patient outcomes in Europe. This includes readability levels and overall health literacy relating to informed consent and other medical documents, including educational pamphlets. An "informed patient" may be described as an individual, who is able to understand and act on the health information that is provided to him or her by their medical provider(s).

The project ultimately focused in four areas:
(1) readability of pamphlets and other medical materials by utilising popular readability formulas for the English language as they apply in the Greek language;
(2) mapping health literacy research in Europe, as well as identifying potential collaborators in this field in order to exchange knowledge and methodologies in the health literacy area in different countries or languages within the European Union;
(3) health information sources used by adolescents and adults;
(4) informed consent communication methods used in medical settings (primarily in surgery) in Greece with the goal of improving the communication between health care providers with their patients.

The project results are unique for Greece as much of this research was done for the first time and identified areas that need continual focus both by academic researchers as well as policies designed by the respective government for schools, and healthcare facilities. The long-term effects of this project are aimed at improving healthcare material used in Greek medical and educational facilities, improving the provider-patient relationship that may lead to better health care quality, and ultimately improving patient health outcomes. This research is applicable to all European countries, including Greece, in several areas of medicine as well as in the psychosocial sciences.