A database of health literacy measures
The Health Literacy Tool Shed is an online database of health literacy measures. The site contains information about measures, including their psychometric properties, based on a review of the peer-reviewed literature. Read more about the Tool Shed's goals and criteria
Validation sample population age:
Modes of administration in validation study:
Number of items:
Sample size in validation study:
Approximate administration time in validation study (minutes):
Language of validated version:
Modern approach for tool development:
Year measure first published:
Country where validated:
Validation sample: Race:
Validation sample: Ethnicity:
Concurrent criterion validity:
Predictive criterion validity:
Reliability: Test-retest correlation:
Reliability: Cronbach's alpha:
The Health Literacy Tool Shed Glossary includes vocabulary and terminology used to talk about features and aspects of the Health Literacy Tool Shed.
Welcome to the Health Literacy Tool Shed! This website helps you:
This website includes tools (measures, instruments, and items) that:
We did not exclude tools on the basis of accessibility, so some tools may require payment or author permission.1
The number of available tools to assess an individual’s health literacy has increased during the past decade. There are more than 100 tools available on this site, and we review the Tool Shed quarterly so we can continue to add measures that meet our criteria. Please let us know if you have suggestions to improve the Tool Shed, such as adding tools or more information on the listed measures. To make a suggestion, you can use the Contact Us web form.
Michael Paasche-Orlow, MD, MA, MPH, the lead academic partner for this project, will incorporate your suggestions in future site updates.
Note: Some of the health literacy tools that are not included assess the complexity of the health care system, provider communication skills, or other facets of organizations or materials. We hope to include tools of this nature in the future.
Instrument validation is an ongoing process. The Tool Shed includes the most common type of validation information available in research published to date. However, before selecting a tool, we suggest you contact the author(s) of the tool (identified in the Tool Shed), or read the full paper and contact the corresponding author.
Authors: If your contact information is inaccurate or is not listed, please send us your current contact information so others can reach out to you. This helps everyone learn from and expand on your work.
When selecting a tool for your project, please keep these limitations in mind:
In developing the Tool Shed, we found gaps within some health literacy measures. We suggest future researchers close these gaps by:
This project is a collaboration among:
Funding is provided by the National Institutes of Healths National Library of Medicine (Lead contact: Robert A. Logan, PhD).
In the U.S., health literacy is often defined as "the degree to which individuals have the capacity to obtain, process, and understand basic health information and services needed to make appropriate health decisions" (Health Literacy: A Prescription to End Confusion, Institute of Medicine, 2004). However, the field of health literacy is evolving, and a number of different definitions of health literacy are currently in use (Berkman, et al., 2010; Sorenson, et al., 2012).
More recent definitions focus on specific skills needed to navigate the health care system and on the importance of clear communication between health care providers and their patients. Health care providers and patients both play important roles in health literacy, but most measures focus on an individual’s health literacy level. More recently, the Vanderbilt Center for Effective Health Communication has published an assessment process for measuring health literacy at the organizational level.
1 Access to the instruments and costs may vary as mandated by the investigator(s) or publisher. The Tool Shed is not responsible for individuals or organizations that charge for the use of health literacy tools or if rates have changed since being posted on this site.