HLS19 Project

About the HLS19 

The Health Literacy Population Survey Project 2019-2021 (HLS19) is M-POHL’s first project. Its aim was to measure population health literacy in as many member states of the WHO European Region as possible. To plan and carry out this project, a consortium was established within M-POHL comprising countries planning to participate in the survey, and working groups were formed to develop individual modules in the study design, including optional packages for Navigational health literacy, Communicative health literacy with physicians, Digital health literacy, Vaccination health literacy, and the costs and economics of health literacy.

In the end, 17 countries in the WHO European Region - Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Germany, Hungary, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Norway, Portugal, Russian Federation, Slovakia, Slovenia, and Switzerland - participated in the HLS19 project in the period 2019-2021. Additionally, the Ukraine implements the HLS19 in 2022 as late-joining country. 

Data was analysed on the European level for an internationally report and by national teams for more specific country reports. These reports and the subsequent publications are intended to support evidence-based policy for improving health literacy, especially in participating HLS19 member states and WHO-Europe region. Therefore, based on the HLS19 results, the HLS19 consortium agreed on a set of recommendations for policy, practice, and research. Furthermore, the HLS19 Project shall pave the grounds towards regular European health literacy surveys.

Research and development-related activities for the HLS19

To meet the main aim and objectives set in the HLS19, the following main research and development-related activities for the HLS19 were initiated, accomplished, or are still ongoing: 

  • development of an HLS19 study protocol and survey instruments, 
  • implementation of a cross-national comparative survey among the HLS19 project partner countries, 
  • establishment of an international HLS19 database,
  • distribution of results across the HLS19 project partner countries for benchmarking,
  • publication and dissemination of the findings in reports, scientific peer-reviewed journals, books, factsheets, policy briefing papers, and via the M-POHL public website. 

The International Coordination Centre (ICC) of the HLS19 Project

The International Coordination Centre (ICC) of the HLS19 Project is situated within the WHO-CC for Health Promotion in Hospitals and Health Care at the department of Health Literacy and Health Promotion of the Austrian National Public Health Institute (Gesundheit Österreich GmbH).

Core team of the International Coordination Centre (ICC) and their roles/responsibilities: 

Jürgen M. Pelikan - Principal International Investigator
Christa Straßmayr - Project Coordination and Research
Robert Griebler - Research
Thomas Link – Statistics and Research
Dominika Mikšová - Statistics and Research
Peter Nowak – Finance and Contracting