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EASL’s Patient Forum 2021 highlights health literacy to empower patients and address inequities

20 December 2021

On 22 November 2021, EASL held its annual Patient Forum on the topic: health literacy to empower patients and address inequities. We collaborated with five members of our Patient Synergies network to bring together the expertise of patient advocates and healthcare specialists and hold an engaging discussion around the status of health literacy, with a special focus on literacy related to liver health.

During the webinar, it was emphasised that patient involvement is important at every stage. Improving health literacy in healthcare contributes to strengthening effectiveness and efficiency of the healthcare system. Including health literacy in public policy is essential for overcoming challenges and for ensuring sustainable benefit. A revised concept of digital health has appeared in recent years.

The COVID-19 pandemic has made critical health literacy increasingly important and relevant. At this event, representatives of patient organisations and academia provided insights into their organisations’ actions – both scheduled and underway – taking place regarding health literacy.

Prof. Diane Levin-Zamir introduced the webinar providing a definition of health literacy, both personal health literacy, of individuals, and organisational health literacy, of organisations.

Speakers included representatives from five Patient Synergies members and public health experts. 

EASL’s Patient Forum 2021 focusses on the issue of health literacy to address inequities among patients. Health literacy is the extent to which individuals are able to obtain, understand and use basic health information and services that they need to make well-informed health decisions. Yet Europe faces a health literacy crisis with health systems increasingly difficult to navigate, even for more educated people. Actions are needed at all levels and it is crucial to have patients views and needs guiding the change. Drawing upon the insights of our Patient Synergies members, we aim to help address this issue by providing a focussed perspective on liver health,

said Prof. Maria Buti, EASL’s EU Policy Councillor, and Chair of EASL’s Policy and Public Health Committee and Professor of Medicine at the Internal Medicine and Hepatology Department, Hospital General Universitari Valle Hebron, Barcelona, Spain.

More about EASL and patient engagement

Through our Patient Synergies activities, EASL has joined forces with umbrella organisations to share expertise, best practices, inspire initiatives and activities. In addition to the initiatives of relevance to patients, such as the special patient membership category, the patient versions of Clinical Practice Guidelines, and lay versions of both EASL journals, EASL is planning to further involve patients in EASL’s scientific and educational programmes.

Read about our Patient Forum 2020 discussing EASL Policy Statements that offer recommendations and tangible measures that policymakers can adopt.

Patients can also access dedicated materials free of charge on EASL Campus, upon simple registration on MyEASL.

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