Health IT Literacy Guide and Accessible IT for Limited-Literacy Populations Checklist


Health information technology (IT) is important for providing information to consumers and allowing for increased communication between the healthcare providers and the consumer. This guide provides a checklist and other resources for the development of a health IT product.


The content in this tool provides guidelines for all health information technologies and for specific health IT. There are many reasons that explain the lack of access to health IT for a limited-literacy population.

  • the number of adults with limited literacy is small and insignificant 
  • few financial incentives to encourage the development or purchase of such IT

 The benefits of designing accessible health IT:

  • Broadening the potential audience (This is because 30 million people have below basic prose literacy, and 62 million have basic prose literacy)
  • Increased understanding and usage for all populations, including those with higher literacy
  • Enhanced reputation

 The major principles for ensuring accessible health IT for those with limited literacy include:

  • Plain and clear language
  • Content that is relevant to the audience
  • Format that is conducive to reading and comprehension
  • Content that appeals to diverse racial and ethnic groups
  • Content that has undergone iterative testing and revision
Contact Person/Organization: 

Agency for Healthcare Research & Quality

Type of Tool:

Publication Date: 

Health IT Literacy Webinar