The Health Literacy Management Scale (HeLMS): A measure of an individual’s capacity to seek, understand and use health information within the healthcare setting
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Objective: Health literacy refers to an individual's ability to seek, understand, and use health information. This paper describes the development and psychometric testing of the Health Literacy Management Scale (HeLMS). Methods: Content areas were identified from a conceptual framework derived from interviews and concept mapping. Items were generated from statements from concept mapping participants. Construction (N = 333) and replication (N = 350) samples were participants in chronic disease self-management programs and emergency department attendees. Factor analysis was used to refine constructs and define psychometric properties. Results: Consultations generated 8 scales each with 4–5 items: Understanding health information, Accessing GP healthcare services, Communication with health professionals, Being proactive and Using health information, Patient attitudes towards their health, Social support, and Socioeconomic considerations. Confirmatory factor analyses indicated good fit of the data with the model (RMSEA = 0.07, SRMR = 0.05, CFI = 0.97) and all domains had high internal consistency (Cronbach alpha > 0.82). Conclusion: The HeLMS has acceptable psychometric properties and assesses a range of health literacy constructs important to patients when seeking, understanding and using health information within the healthcare system. Practice implications: The HeLMS presents a new approach to assessing health literacy in healthcare settings.
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