Patient Perspectives to Inform a Health Literacy Educational Program: A Systematic Review and Thematic Synthesis of Qualitative Studies

Margot Jager*, Janine de Zeeuw, Janne Tullius, Roberta Papa, Cinzia Giammarchi, Amanda Whittal, Andrea F. de Winter

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articleAcademicpeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)
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Patient-centred care is tailored to the needs of patients and is necessary for better health outcomes, especially for individuals with limited health literacy (LHL). However, its implementation remains challenging. The key to effectively address patient-centred care is to include perspectives of patients with LHL within the curricula of (future) healthcare providers (HCP). This systematic review aimed to explore and synthesize evidence on the needs, experiences and preferences of patients with LHL and to inform an existing educational framework. We searched three databases: PsychInfo, Medline and Cinahl, and extracted 798 articles. One-hundred and three articles met the inclusion criteria. After data extraction and thematic synthesis, key themes were identified. Patients with LHL and chronic diseases encounter multiple problems in the care process, which are often related to a lack of person-centeredness. Patient perspectives were categorized into four key themes: (1) Support system; (2) Patient self-management; (3) Capacities of HCPs; (4) Barriers in healthcare systems. “Cultural sensitivity” and “eHealth” were identified as recurring themes. A set of learning outcomes for (future) HCPs was developed based on our findings. The perspectives of patients with LHL provided valuable input for a comprehensive and person-centred educational framework that can enhance the relevance and quality of education for (future) HCPs, and contribute to better person-centred care for patients with LHL.

Original languageEnglish
Article number4300
Number of pages23
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Issue number21
Publication statusPublished - 5-Nov-2019


  • Education
  • Health literacy
  • Learning outcomes
  • Patient perspectives
  • Patient-centeredness
  • Qualitative research

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