Information literacy in healthcare is more than just appreciation of information technology for it involves strategic management and is largely affected by the culture and approaches used in its formulation.

Healthcare system would benefit from implementation of effective information literacy measures though it is important that the strategies be appreciative of complexities in ensuring information literacy and be developed in a manner that is appreciative of the effect that internal values, abilities and structures have on information appreciation, availability and use.

Success or failure is dependent on what the  information literacy strategy entails and how the formulation and implementation is managed.


Information systems play a critical in modern day operations and are cited as critical factors in determining the levels of success that can be attained.  It is worth noting that success in government activities and in social systems is often measured by the levels of satisfaction that can be attained in addressing issues pertaining to the society.

Relevance of informations in social systems' operations is largely due to the levels of efficiency that is required in effective management of social resources and the complexities associated with bureaucratic government systems.

Understanding information illiteracy in healthcare systems requires an understanding of the factors that lead to its manifestation and determination of the various agents that can be used to develop a love for information that is important in developing healthcare systems that are efficient and relevant to the needs of the society (Behen 2006 p. 84).

Failure in appreciation of the power of information and development of system that are either lacking in ensuring information adequacy or employment of mechanisms that lack relevance to information needs of the healthcare system are all possible causes of failure in ensuring information efficiency and are therefore considered illiteracy.

Understanding the manifestation of information literacy in the healthcare systems is important in developing a picture of the areas that are lacking and therefore recommendation aimed at ensuring optimal performance.

Problem Statement

Commitment to a lifelong chase for information awareness and development of an appreciation of the changing nature of internal systems which are associated with different information systems play an important part in ensuring information awareness (Cassidy 2005 p. 77).

These are some of the factors that play an important part in determination of the levels of efficiency that can be attained in operations.

Understanding information literacy and its relevance to healthcare is an aspect that has evaded many though its need appear to be developing by the day.  Increase in levels of educational attainment and an increase in information awareness are factors that are attributed to information availability which is one of the most important factors in determining the levels of success that can be attained in operations.

Information literacy is a wide issue and appreciation of the complexity that comes with its breadth  determines the levels of success that can be attained in meeting social health requirements.  It is worth noting that operational success is a mix of a number of factors that revolve around the availability of information and its use in an objective manner.

These complexities in management of information and the levels of dynamism that information displays are some of the factors that lead to difficulty in management of information.

Ensuring information literacy in healthcare systems is thus a factor that determines the levels of success that can be attained in healthcare management.  The failure of most systems is not due to their lack of professionalism with respect to information awareness rather is a result of poor infrastructure and perception with respect to information literacy.


A number of definitions have been developed to try and  develop an intimate understanding of information literacy intimately.  Identification, location, extraction and effective use of information in addressing well presented and objective healthcare issues is core to information literacy in healthcare.

These processes form the basis of information literacy and should therefore be managed in a manner that is appreciative of the role that they play in ensuring success.

Each stage or critical variable in information literacy is not independent of the other as it may appear in their linear formulation rather they are largely interdependent and failure in any of the process or variable may result to an illiterate healthcare system (Thomas  2004 p. 21).

This complexity that is definitive of healthcare and healthcare management where the professional and social aspects have to be considered are some of the issues that must be put in mind in constructing the relevance and use of information literacy in healthcare systems.

a)      Recognition of need for information

The healthcare system is defined by information intensity due to its nature that is defined by different departments that address varied health issues, the high levels of dynamism that defines medical practice, the need to continuously improve standards of medical practice due to the ever changing standards of living and the need to ensure operational efficiency are factors that push for information literacy (Thede 2003 p 21).

All these factors determine the levels of  information integrity that should be definitive of healthcare system (Eisenberg, Lowe & Spitzer 2004 p. 53).

This should not however be mistaken for lack of appreciation of the relevance of information accuracy in healthcare systems.  Most social systems are characterised by a conservationist approach to management that places little emphasis on change except when pressurised by the society.

The education system, the justice system and the healthcare system which are ran by the government display low levels of change and appreciation of relevance of information literacy has been slow to dawn (Thede 2003).  Despite government efforts at the high level to provide measures and guidelines on how information literacy can be attained, there is little that has been done on the low level to attain this important goal (Thede 2003).

There is a clear low level appreciation of recent waves of information awareness not due to lack of professionalism in the healthcare system rather due to the perception that has been developed by most medics on the relevance of experience in ensuring efficiency.  Top level management in most health institutions are defined by their numerous years of experience in healthcare circles which is central to the poor perception.

To ensure information literacy the entire healthcare system should be  appreciative of the relevance of information in the present operational environment; this can be developed through interaction with other sectors that are largely appreciative of information and education that may dispels fear of technology that is central to the failure of the current approaches to information availability.

b)      Access to Needed Information

Availability of information plays an important part in determining the efficiency that can be attained by an information system with respect to meeting the information needs of an organisation.  This is one of the key factors that play an important part in the heavy emphasis that has placed relevance to organisation's information needs in development of organisational information systems an issue of top priority.

It is important to note that availability of information that determines the levels of efficiency that can be attained in accessing it is a result of factors that range from physical variables to attitudes that have been developed by  healthcare workers with respect to information awareness.

Professional development that is widely appreciated by the healthcare systems is one of the avenues that can be harnessed to ensure greater appreciation of information literacy.  An increase in need for professional development is cited as being resultant of increase in educational attainment and the multidimensional approach required in healthcare management (Joos, Whitman & Smith 2005 p. 34).

With this basis it is important that the healthcare systems present information that is relevant to its professionals and also ensure that healthcare workers have access to a wide range of information.

Access to informations and therefore the usability of the information is largely dependent on appreciation of information and infrastructure that has been provided to ensure access.

Physical libraries, virtual databases, on-line databases and search engines are some of the tools and infrastructure that should be developed to ensure access to information.  The availability of the infrastructure is effective in ensuring information availability only if the users have the ability to access the information.

The strategies and even technology employed should be guided by the ability of users and measures instigated to ensure their abilities are developed to ensure multiple platforms can be used in presentation of information.  Access to information is a factor that even affects the levels of security and accuracy of information attained and should therefore be managed in a manner that is reflective of its importance.