Health Literacy Skills Instrument

The Health Literacy Skills Instrument (HLSI) was developed to assess four domains of health literacy skills: print literacy (reading and writing), numeracy skills, oral literacy skills (listening), and information seeking (navigation of Internet and facilities). Similar to other measures, the HLSI measures print literacy. However, the HLSI also uses non-print stimuli and examines oral and Internet-based information-seeking skills. Stimuli represent health-related issues across the life course for health promotion and disease prevention, health care maintenance and
treatment, and health system and health information navigation.

The HLSI can be self-administered using a computer, which can reduce data collection costs and minimize potential discomfort or embarrassment among participants. The HLSI is designed to be used in intervention research studies as well as for national and local surveillance.

The original HLSI comprises 16 stimuli (educational materials) and 25 questionnaire items about these stimuli. The 10-item HLSI is a shortened version of the 25-item instrument.

More information

For more information on the HLSI, please contact Lauren McCormack at RTI. You can also read about the development of the HLSI in the following citation:

  • McCormack et al. (2010). Measuring health literacy: A pilot study of a new skills-based instrument. Journal of Health Communication 15(S2), 51–71. (DOI:10.1080/10810730.2010.499987)