Resources: Article

Health literacy is like a chameleon

Kristine Sørensen is a Global expert and strategic advisor on health literacy by design. She is also President of the International Health Literacy Association. Her latest health literacy blog is really interesting and well worth a read. You can access it via the link below.


Health literacy is like a chameleon (

Taking ALISS to the next level - the single source of truth for communities

What is ALISS?

ALISS  – A Local Information System for Scotland – is a national digital programme enabling people and professionals to find and share information on resources, services, groups, and support in their local communities and online.

ALISS’s aim is to ensure that everyone in Scotland has the right information, at the right time, about resources that are available to help them live well and stay connected to their community.


Resources you can find on ALISS are added and edited by people living and working in communities. This means that if you cannot find the service you are looking for, you can add it to the system by creating an account.

Developments on ALISS

Over the past two years, the ALISS team have been working towards four strategic objectives: more data, better data, better experience and more users.  So, if you have visited ALISS before, you will notice that much has changed of late.

More data

Since the lifting of pandemic restrictions, staff have been travelling to a range of communities across the country to promote and train people in the use of ALISS.

The ALISS programme has secured funding from Innovate UK (UKRI) to instigate a number of developments on ALISS.  Notable amongst these is a proposed proof-of-concept project of intelligent data aggregation.  There are many local directories of service in operation across Scotland.  This project seeks to integrate them with ALISS, seeking a ‘single source of truth’ for citizens.


Better data

Quality of data on ALISS is vital, and staff have been working on manually cleansing the data held.  This has seen hundreds of entries either updated or deleted from the system.  This ensures that people searching ALISS can have greater confidence in the search results it produces.

Over the coming months, the ALISS team will be implementing enhanced data governance processes.  This will include automatic prompts for users to update their information.

Better experience

User research on accessibility has been published.  Recommendations based on people affected by sensory loss are now being implemented.

More users

With a view to attracting new and returning users to the site, ALISS had a rebrand and site refresh in July 2022.

ALISS data could already be accessed on NHS Inform Scotland’s Service Directory More access points have recently been added, including Mydex and social prescribing platforms.

One of the most exciting recent developments has been the launch of an Alexa app for ALISS.  By issuing the command, “Alexa, enable My Scottish Community”, users can use their voice to search on ALISS.

Further information

ALISS is funded by the Scottish Government and is operated by the Health and Social Care Alliance Scotland (the ALLIANCE). ALISS is coproduced with people and professionals in Scotland’s communities and values local and national resources as the key to living well.

For more information, please contact

Health Literacy Research and Practice

Health Literacy Research and Practice (HLRP) is the official journal of the Institute for Healthcare Advancement and is a forum for the dissemination of high-quality behavioural and clinical research.

It is an interdisciplinary and international open-access publication dedicated to promoting excellence in research and practice to advance the field of health literacy, promote health equity, and reduce health disparities. You can read their articles here.

Near Me

Near Me is a video consulting service that enables people to attend appointments from home or wherever is convenient. The service is already widely used across NHS Scotland for health and care appointments and is now being rolled out across a wide range of public services.

All you need is a device for making video calls like a smartphone and an internet connection. Near Me is a secure form of video consulting approved for use by the Scottish Government and NHS Scotland.

The benefits of Near Me include

  • Reduced travel to appointments: time, cost, convenience
  • Reduced time away from work, school or home
  • Easier to attend if you usually need someone to take you to appointments
  • Enables you to have someone with you for support at your appointment (either with you or joining the consultation by video from another location, even from abroad)
  • Better for the environment
  • Reduces spread of infectious diseases

How does Near Me work in Health?

Your provider (such as the hospital, GP practice or other service) will give you a website address for its video clinic. Most services will give you an appointment date and time when you should start your video call. You do not need to download an App or create an account.

Near Me video consulting is not suitable for all appointments.  If you need a physical examination or a procedure carried out you will still need to be seen in-person.  Your health, care  or other provider can advise you on what is appropriate for you.

You can find out more about Near Me and video consultations here.


Near Me resources for BSL Users

Near me have added some useful information and resources which BSL users may find helpful.

They encourage the use of Google Chrome voice to text function and here is a case study of how it has been used.

They have also developed a BSL Near Me video, which helps callers understand about the platform

Also many boards and health services have enabled the use of interpreters on Near Me.  This means an interpreter can join the consultation and provide support during the call, this includes BSL interpreters.

There is also an easy read leaflet available which provides information about Near Me appointments and a Near Me information leaflet for children and young people

Knowledge translation strategies for dissemination with a focus on healthcare recipients: an overview of systematic reviews

While there is an ample literature on the evaluation of knowledge translation interventions aimed at healthcare providers, managers, and policy-makers, there has been less focus on patients and their informal caregivers. Further, no overview of the literature on dissemination strategies aimed at healthcare users and their caregivers has been conducted. The overview has two specific research questions: (1) to determine the most effective strategies that have been used to disseminate knowledge to healthcare recipients, and (2) to determine the barriers (and facilitators) to dissemination of knowledge to this group.

Towards an equitable digital public health era: promoting equity through a health literacy perspective

Natasha Azzopardi-Muscat, Kristine Sørensen
European Journal of Public Health, Volume 29, Issue Supplement_3, October 2019, Pages 13–17
Published: 18 November 2019

History of health literacy in Scotland

A blog article by Christine Hoy from the Health and Social Care Alliance on the history of health literacy in Scotland. This blog discusses the policy context of health literacy and its links to long term conditions such as diabetes.

Access to Healthcare

Healthcare information for migrants is available on the NHS Inform website.

Access to Healthcare – GP Registration cards have been designed to support anyone who needs to register at a new GP practice. You can download printable versions of the cards by clicking the following links.



The first is a business card which sets an individuals rights to healthcare in Scotland.  It also provides contact information for NHS Inform and the Patient Advice and Support Service.

The second card is a larger, six sided ‘Z card’ which provides the same information as above, as well as more detail including reference to the recently revised Charter of Patient Rights and Responsibilities and NHS 24.

This is what you told us about communication

To know a bit more about people’s experiences of healthcare we asked volunteers from a local patient group in NHS Tayside to speak to us. We were interested in their personal experiences of different types of communication with healthcare providers. In particular we wanted to know what they thought was done well and what could have been better. We have captured some of what they told us in the video “This is what you told us about communication.”