Health Literacy: Four Ways to Create a Successful Program
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Sponsored by Disease Management News
presented on July 22, 2008
Nearly 50% of Americans read at a fifth grade level or below, and with a rapidly diversifying culture, language differences are becoming a larger barrier to communication. These facts have an enormous impact on the healthcare industry since many individuals don't understand important medical information they receive. As a result,, more than $73 billion is spent annually correcting errors that result from patients' misunderstanding their diagnoses - such a diabetic patient not understanding how to properly control his disease, causing him to suffer worse health outcomes and higher healthcare bills. These types of problems are avoidable if proper communication is established.
Health literacy programs are rising in popularity in response to how patients interpret their visits with physicians and their communications with health plans and health management vendors. Tactics such as getting the patient to repeat in his own words the doctor's instructions in order to confirm comprehension are bridging the gap between the complex world of medical jargon and the end-user who ultimately must understand it.