BMJ news: 'Taking down online scientific misinformation isn't necessary, as most people don't believe it, says Royal Society' (3)

25 January, 2022

Dear Chris,

You said: "This is a puzzling distinction. Surely health literacy is exactly about developing “the ability to differentiate reliable information from misinformation”? Someone with a high level of health literacy will certainly have a better chance of differentiating between the two – although it must be said that even the most health-literate people do occasionally make mistakes in this area."

The distinction I made is between '*personal* health literacy' [my emphasis] and 'the ability to differentiate reliable information from misinformation'. Personal health literacy is only one of many facets of 'the ability to differentiate reliable health information from misinformation'.

These wider facets are nicely captured in Dr Okan’s tweet (“When we think of #healthliteracy we should think not only of #personalhealthliteracy but also: signposting, standards, regulation, surveillance. policy, #organizationalhealthliteracy and #personalhealthliteracy. A 'comprehensive approach' is needed.”).

Dr Okan, Professor of Health Literacy at the University of Munich, Germany, had sent this tweet in response to a tweet by me [ ]

I shall invite him to join us and look forward to further discussion about this fascinating topic.

Best wishes, Neil

Neil Pakenham-Walsh, HIFA Coordinator,