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Table 1 A short list of some selected instruments for measuring general health literacy

From: Development and validation of a short and easy-to-use instrument for measuring health literacy: the Health Literacy Instrument for Adults (HELIA)

NameAuthors (publication Year), [ref]TargetThe most important advantagesThe most important disadvantages
Rapid Estimate of Adult Literacy in Medicine (REALM)Davis et l. (1991), [10].AdultsQuick and easy to administer, short version availableOnly measures reading ability, has problems when administering to patients with limited reading ability.
Test of Functional Health Literacy in Adults (TOFHLA)Parker et al. (1995), [11].AdultsAvailable in Spanish, German, French, and Italian. Short version available. Has been validated in several samples representing diverse populations.The use of the instrument is limited to health service settings. The short-TOFHLA is only a test of reading comprehension and might prove useful as a screening instrument to identify patients with very limited reading ability rather than health literacy
Newest Vital Sign (NVS)Weiss et al. (2005), [12].AdultsQuick functional health literacy assessment that includes numeracy.The scoring description lack precision. With high sensitivity, the NVS might misclassify patients with adequate health literacy, while the specificity might result in overestimating the percentage of patients with limited literacy
Screening Questions for Limited Health Literacy (SILS)Morris et al. (2006), [19], Chew et al. (2008), [20]People with limited literacyVery easy and short (3 items)Only measures reading, understanding and filling out medical forms
Medical Term Recognition Test (METER)Rawson et al. (2010), [21].AdultsQuick and easy to administerIt is a one-dimensional instrument
Health Literacy Skills Instrument (HLSI)McCormack et al. (2010), [22].AdultsAssesses multiple health literacy domains with a skills-based approach. Available in short form.Primarily focusing on functional health literacy using different means such as documents, oral communication and Internet making it relatively difficult to admister
Health Literacy Assessment Using Talking Touchscreen Technology (Health LiTT)Hahn, et al. (2011), [23].AdultsSelf-administered, computer adaptedNot able to distinguish higher levels of health literacy. Health literacy assessment might be influenced by computer literacy and skills
Canadian Self-Report Health Literacy SkillsBegoray and Kwan(2012), [24]AdultsShort instruments that includes nine self-reported itemsUses very general items and cannot provide accurate estimation of health literacy
Health Literacy Questionnaire HLQ)Osborne et al. (2013), [16].AdultsContains multiple domains of health literacy, relatively well developedNot identified yet.
European Health Literacy Questionnaire (HLS-EU-Q47)Sørensen et al. (2013), [17].Age 15+Comprehensive, available in more than 10 languages.Developed in European context. However, ccurrently the Asian version also was developed.
HLS-EU-Q16Sørensen et al. (2015), [25].Age 15+Comprehensive instrumentDeveloped in European context.
All Aspects of Health Literacy Scale (AAHLS):Chinn and McCarthy, (2013) [26]Age 15+Measuring functional, communicative and critical health literacyAlthough short, it is not useful for population studies since it might be confusing for people with limited education and literacy.