Health Literacy & Advocacy Group
Health Literacy - A challenge for patients and healthcare providers
· Do you know someone who has trouble understanding their doctor?
· Do you know someone who has trouble understanding their medication directions?
· Do you know someone who has been sent for a medical test and not known why?
If so, you're not alone. Nearly half of all Americans struggle to understand health information.
While modern medicine holds more promise than ever before, the tests, procedures, treatment
regimens, and medications needed to fulfull this promise have grown increasingly complex. At the
same time, patients have less access to their healthcare providers and have taken on more of the
burden for preventing and managing illness.
Health information has never been so abundant, and it exists in all forms. However, much of this
information is too complex to be understood by the people who need it most. A lack of
understanding can lead to poor health outcomes for individuals and for society. Unless we bridge
the gap between what patients can understand and how health information is presented, the
promise of modern medicine will never be fully realized.
The ability to read, write, speak, understand, and act on health information is collectively referred
to as health literacy. Nearly 90 million Americans have inadequate health literacy skills, lacking
the knowledge base, vocabulary, and numeracy skills required to make sound decisions about
their health. Everyone, regardless of race, ethnicity, or socioeconomic status, is at risk for
misunderstanding health information.
Meeting the challenge
The Health Literacy & Advocacy Group promotes health literacy by educating patients and
developing clear health communication materials for use in a variety of settings. See detailed
descriptions of our programs under Services.
Education. Clear Communication. Advocacy.
Health Literacy & Advocacy Group. Copyright 2008-9. All rights reserved.