In This Section      
 

Health Literacy Measurement Tools

Three brief, valid assessments of health literacy include the Rapid Estimate of Adult Literacy in Medicine, Revised (REALM-R), the Rapid Estimate of Adult Literacy in Medicine—Short Form, and the Short Assessment of Health Literacy for Spanish Adults (SAHLSA-50).

Rapid Estimate of Adult Literacy in Medicine, Revised (REALM-R)

The Rapid Estimate of Adult Literacy in Medicine, Revised (REALM-R) is a brief screening instrument used to assess an adult patient’s ability to read common medical words. It is a word recognition test--not a reading comprehension instrument and takes less than 2 minutes to administer and score.[i] A study conducted by the Journal of the American Medical Association found that the REALM-R might offer a practical approach to identify patients at risk for health literacy problems in a clinical setting.[ii]

Rapid Estimate of Adult Literacy in Medicine—Short Form (REALM-SF)

The Rapid Estimate of Adult Literacy in Medicine—Short Form (REALM-SF) is a 7-item word recognition test to provide clinicians with a valid quick assessment of patient health literacy. The REALM-SF has been validated and field tested in diverse research setting, and has excellent agreement with the 66-item REALM instrument in terms of grade-level assignments.

Short Assessment of Health Literacy for Spanish Adults (SAHLSA-50)

The Short Assessment of Health Literacy for Spanish Adults (SAHLSA-50) is a validated health literacy assessment tool containing 50 items designed to assess a Spanish-speaking adult's ability to read and understand common medical terms. The SAHLSA was based on the Rapid Estimates of Adult Literacy in Medicine (REALM), known as the most easily administered tool for assessing health literacy in English.


[i] Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. Rapid Estimate of Adult Literacy in Medicine: revised, shorter version (REALM-R). http://www.ahrq.gov/legacy/pharmhealthlit/documents/realm-r.htm

[ii] Bass, P.F., Wilson, J.F., Griffith, C.H. 2003. A shortened instrument for literacy screening. Journal of General Internal Medicine 18(12):1036-1038.