October 30 2012
The importance of health literacy
As the role the person plays in health care takes on ever-increasing importance, so does the issue of health literacy. The Affordable Care Act defines health literacy as the degree to which an individual has the capacity to obtain, communicate, process and understand basic health information and services to make appropriate health decisions. As these health decisions can arise any day in any number of settings, being health literate is vital to making the right decision. According to the CDC, nearly 9 out of 10 adults have difficulty using routinely available, everyday health information. And, without clear information and an understanding of that information's importance, research has shown that people are more likely to skip necessary medical tests, end up in the ER more often and have a harder time managing chronic diseases.
And, health literacy isn't just an issue confined to the United States. Check out the video below, which illustrates the results of the European Health Literacy Survey.