Tuesday, August 4, 2020

Health Literacy

Health Literacy is defined in the Institute of Medicine report, Health Literacy: A Prescription to End Confusion,(link is external) as "the degree to which individuals have the capacity to obtain, process, and understand basic health information and services needed to make appropriate health decisions."

Health literacy requires a complex group of reading, listening, analytical, and decision-making skills, as well as the ability to apply these skills to health situations. For example, it includes the ability to understand instructions on prescription drug bottles, appointment slips, medical education brochures, doctor's directions and consent forms, and the ability to negotiate complex health care systems.

More recent definitions focus on specific skills needed to navigate the health care system and the importance of clear communication between health care providers and their patients. Both health care providers and patients play important roles in health literacy. The number of different definitions for health literacy demonstrate how the field has evolved.

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