Background: Due to the differences in health literacy among individuals, enhancing health literacy is key to improving health. There are many interventions for improving health literacy, which differ from the population in the effectiveness.
Aim: The aim of this master thesis is to perform an umbrella review concerning the strategies' and interventions' effectivness for improving general population health literacy. We want to identify the characteristics of the effective strategies and interventions to improve low health literacy affecting a variety of health outcomes.
Methods: In the database MEDLINE we did a review of the literature with defined search profile, we evaluated the chosen systematic reviews and meta-analysis according to PRISMA, AMSTAR and AMSTAR 2 guidelines. Next, we performed an umbrella review. We presented the data from all of the reviews; we compared the results and assessed the quality. Then we prepared an inventory of strategies and interventions and the content summary. Finally, we interpreted the results.
Results: In our umbrella review, we included 20 articles. The average rating of the quality of the included systematic reviews was 62.6 % for PRISMA, 62.9 % for AMSTAR and critically low quality for AMSTAR 2. Even though the articles varied a lot in terms of quality, effective interventions for improving health literacy between the higher and lower quality studies were the same. Verbal communication which included counseling and education affected the participant’s knowledge on health to the highest extent. Another highly influential factor was the simplified written material, which was easy to understand. Moreover, e-interventions and multimedia were also the factors that increased self-efficacy and cooperation in the treatment.
Conclusions: The effectiveness of the interventions varies in each population, which also depends on the level of health literacy and level of education. Nevertheless, the most effective interventions are those that are tailored to the individual and include simplified written material, reminders for taking medications; including a relaxed, interactive communication with a health care professional.
Key words: health literacy, health, literacy, intervention, strategy, program, improvement, effectiveness, efficacy, efficiency, benefit, outcome.