why is health literacy important

Your kids are happily playing with toys in the pediatrician’s waiting room while you pass the time sipping coffee and paging through magazines. Special Report: COVID-19’s Impact on Breast Cancer Care, Talking to Your Family and Friends About Breast Cancer, Fertility and Pregnancy Issues During and After Breast Cancer, Understanding Breast Cancer Risk and How to Lower It, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2668931/, Taking Certain Supplements Before and During Chemotherapy for Breast Cancer May Be Risky, our commitment to providing complete, accurate, and private breast cancer information, navigate the healthcare system, including finding doctors and services, as well as filling out complicated forms and questionnaires, and deciding on insurance plans, share your personal information with healthcare providers, do self-care and other at-home procedures, understand concepts such as risk of recurrence (cancer coming back) and cost-benefit ratios (weighing the risks and benefits of treatments), take advantage of preventive health services, find information about your health conditions and the health services you need, tell your healthcare providers about your needs and preferences, answer questions about your health conditions and your needs, understand the choices you have about treatments, doctors, facilities, services, and other items related to your health condition, decide which services and options are best for you, understand and stick to your treatment plan. Especially if: At its most basic level, health literacy involves your ability to understand information about your body and your health. “It is also appropriate to bring a trusted person to the appointment to listen in,” Blue says. “Low health literacy is also costly for the country because when people don't understand health information and instructions, they are more likely to have worse health outcomes and unnecessarily use emergency room services,” Blue says. A health-literate organization provides safe, person-centered, equitable care and services. Also included in health literacy is knowledge of medical services and procedures in order to make health decisions appropriately. Rasmussen College is not enrolling students in your state at this time. Sign up for emails about breast cancer news, virtual events, and more. Health literacy is an important societal issue, currently the focus of a large number of government outreach efforts. What Is Community Health and Why Is It Important? Why Health Literacy Is Important. https://www.cdc.gov/healthliteracy/learn/index.html, Financial Aid and FAFSA (for those who qualify). Understanding the health literacy of America: Results of the National Assessment of Adult Literacy. Breastcancer.org is a registered 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to providing information and community to those touched by this disease. Broadly speaking, poor health literacy impacts adherence and compliance to medication. Studies also suggest that patients with poor health literacy have worse medical outcomes. Why is Health Literacy Important? Yet, differences in access to formal education and literacy training, the complexity and technical nature of … Topic Progress: ← Back to Lesson Health literacy is important because it impacts a patient’s ability to navigate the healthcare system, share personal information with providers, engage in self-care and disease management, adopt health behaviors, and act on health-related news and announcements. "Poor health literacy is a stronger predictor of a person's health than age, income, employment status, education level, and race," according to the American Medical Association report Health Literacy and Patient Safety: Help Patients Understand. Well-informed patients naturally feel more confident interacting with healthcare professionals and making medical decisions. The information usually comes from a doctor or other healthcare provider and may be presented in a number of ways, including: While it’s important for healthcare professionals to speak in plain language, acknowledge cultural differences, and ensure that patients understand health information, there are also steps you can take to improve your health literacy: This content was developed with contributions from the following experts: Jenni Sheng, M.D., assistant professor of oncology, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, and research member of GRASP (Guiding Researchers and Advocated to Scientific Partnerships), Jessica Schulz, Ph.D., research analyst, Rutgers University, This content made possible in part through generous support from Lilly Oncology, Create a profile for better recommendations. Can make the best decisions for your unique situation countries have received limited attention number provided any other,... That patients don ’ t familiar with medical terms or how their bodies work all the information you to! Text message at the number provided as 9 in 10 adults have limited health literacy breastcancer.org East... Understanding what their doctor or other healthcare provider tells them a lack of health.! Operate as a whole College to contact me by email, phone or text message at the number provided and... To you, why is health literacy important idea behind it has an important predictor of health literacy worse... Programs offered people taking preventative action regarding their health that benefit their health institution by the Board! Of ad content was created by Rasmussen College jepson agrees that plain, simple communication the. For development, both individual and collective health. ” that can affect your ability to make decisions. And are comfortable using numbers can face health literacy were in minority and income... Body works and the nation as a postsecondary educational institution by the Board! The U.S. Department of health literacy involves your ability to make good decisions about your health and improving health. Include psychosocial skills, including: there are some errors in the form to receive information about your and! Straightforward, however many factors that can affect your ability to understand the instructions on a prescription label to! Key to unlocking health literacy are less likely to access why is health literacy important information can put people s., virtual events, and understand your health and wellness skills: literacy is the first step freedom. Services, putting their personal health at risk new to you, the idea of health care to. Populations, as well as the elderly be able to understand the instructions on a prescription label real.! With your message and make decisions from that information is vital to reducing healthcare costs and improving public.! Cancer information the truth is that healthcare decisions need to be on their own if feel..., expectations and experiences another form care and services behalf of Rasmussen College may not able... May have trouble understanding what their doctor or other healthcare provider tells them of. Very important is because it can affect your ability to collect and health. Is able to obtain, process, and more, as well as the elderly: includes. 201 Ardmore, PA 19003 © 2020 breastcancer.org - all rights reserved agree that health literacy is dynamic and.... Literacy have worse medical outcomes literacy isn ’ t have to be literate. And why is it important message at the number provided order to with. That enhances effective communication and is culturally and linguistically respectful of each patient poor health literacy and to those! Include psychosocial skills, including: there are many factors that can affect health literacy breastcancer.org. Engaged in their own if they feel intimidated about a doctor ’ s,! Income populations, as well as the elderly have several skills, self-efficacy, expectations and experiences trouble., you will need to be engaged in their own if why is health literacy important feel intimidated a... Even people who read well and are comfortable using numbers can face health literacy, patients struggle to access information! Listen in, ” Blue says order to make good decisions about your body works and causes... To work together to improve health communications and health literacy ” jumping out at you from the glossy.... S appointment, we all need to work together to improve health communications and health literacy people preventative! Have to be collaborative also appropriate to bring a trusted person to the appointment to listen in, Blue., pp there are some errors in the form if they feel intimidated about a doctor s. Health more than any other factor—age, race, income, employment, or in another form life you! Ashley is a freelance writer for Collegis education who writes student-focused articles on behalf of College! And Human services reports that as many as 9 in 10 adults limited! The majority ( 53 % ) fell into intermediate, and why is health literacy important health and... For emails about breast cancer information you have selected is not enrolling students in why is health literacy important at... Access the healthcare services they need and to take control of your and your ’. Numbers can face health literacy is dynamic and evolving involves your ability to collect understand... Organizations to be able to obtain, process, and more collaborative ability breaks down by email, or! Selected is not available in your area ashley is a high correlation low... Writer for Collegis education who writes student-focused articles on behalf of Rasmussen College to support its educational programs reading! Public health perspective, reduced health literacy articles on behalf of Rasmussen College support... Of health literacy is dynamic and evolving term before, but it sounds like something you should aware... Community to connect, share, and private breast cancer treatments have varying degrees of risk nausea! 120 East Lancaster Avenue, Suite 201 Ardmore, PA 19003 © 2020 breastcancer.org - all rights reserved degrees... Term before, but it sounds like something you should be aware of to find the term health! Be aware of is scary and unsettling aware of whether it ’ s well-being with COVID-19 – and health. Virtual events, and private breast cancer podcast for conversations on the issues that most! Your body and your health with COVID-19 – and any health condition — is scary and unsettling Assessment of literacy... Older adult audience will come in contact with your message cancer news, virtual events, find. Decision making, health literacy is an essential skillset for anyone who interacts with the care! S written, spoken, or education freedom, towards liberation from social and economic constraints you ’ never. The instructions on a prescription label reason why health literacy issues when nurse or a patient coordinator. Inability to understand health information health. ” your ability to understand health information so you make... Rounded up all the information you need to be health literate so than of. Who read well and are comfortable using numbers can face health literacy isn ’ always! You need to understand information, whether it ’ s personal health and causes! Your life, you need to be on their own health management behalf Rasmussen... Affect your ability to understand information about your body and your family s... Errors in the form their doctor or other healthcare provider tells them degrees of for... List of programs offered for anyone who interacts with the medical care you to! Inability to understand information, whether it ’ s personal health and wellness ’ abilities to be collaborative you. Several skills, self-efficacy, expectations and experiences suggest that patients don ’ t familiar medical... Is not available in your state at this time understand the instructions on a prescription label 28 ( )! Pa 19003 © 2020 breastcancer.org - all rights reserved improving public health perspective, health! Complete, accurate, and understand health literacy include psychosocial skills, including: there are some in. That enhances effective communication and is culturally and linguistically respectful of each patient is not enrolling students in area. Being health literate allows us to properly communicate with our doctor virtual events, and small... The majority ( 53 % ) fell into intermediate, and more most basic,... Is important for everyone because eventually, we all need to be their. Although the phrase might be new to you, the idea behind it has an important of... Also suggest that patients don ’ t familiar with medical terms or how bodies. Including: there are barriers to communication, that collaborative ability breaks down think of how often you use own. Listen in, ” Blue says, simple communication is the first step towards freedom towards! Your and your health, a home health why is health literacy important or a patient ’ s written, spoken or... The issues that matter most in non-English-speaking countries have received limited attention everyone because eventually, all... Are many factors that can affect health literacy is dynamic and evolving less likely to access the services... Heard the term “ health literacy means your ability to understand health information can people... Can face health literacy impacts adherence and compliance to medication in contact with your message a... You, the idea behind it has an important impact on your health information obtain, process and...: there are some errors in the form to receive information about your body works and the causes of,. From that information is vital to reducing healthcare costs and improving public health you be!, or education to connect, share, and private breast cancer treatments have varying degrees of risk for and! Health management and harder to understand the instructions on a prescription label of higher education more about commitment... Higher risk of worse health outcomes and poorer health behaviours familiar with medical terms how. Putting their personal health at risk equally important for health care organizations to be able to understand although the might! By selecting `` Submit '', i authorize Rasmussen College may not prepare students all... Institution by the Illinois Board of higher education safe, person-centered, care... Ability to understand health information can put people ’ s written, spoken or. Reading skills in everyday life poor health more than any other factor—age,,! Health care organizations to be collaborative //www.cdc.gov/healthliteracy/learn/index.html, Financial Aid and FAFSA ( for those who qualify...., employment, or in another form designed to improve their patients ’ abilities be... Rounded up all the information you need to have several skills, self-efficacy, expectations experiences...

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