Health literacy can help us prevent health problems, protect our health and better manage health problems when they arise. They are not familiar with medical terms or with how their bodies work. They need to interpret the statistics and evaluate the risks and benefits that affect their health and safety. Health literacy is as important for doctors as it is for patients.
To close the gap between the medical information provided and its implementation, we need health professionals who can speak the language and understand the culture of their patients. The COVID-19 pandemic put the world in a completely new way of operating, in which the importance of understanding health-related information was paramount. Be sure to provide a general summary of your health history (as well as any illnesses or conditions affecting your family members) in case the problem arises. And while the burden of disease continues to increase rapidly, concern for individual health seems to grow along with it, potentially increasing patient participation and self-management of health conditions.
Funded projects usually address health literacy by linking community members to quality health information resources and providing training on their use. Citizens, co-workers, government workers, and everyone else must have a solid knowledge of health in order to make informed decisions about their health, about public and private policies related to health, and about how to navigate complicated health systems. Isabel Valdez, PA-C, associate professor in the Department of Medicine at Baylor School of Medicine, explains why health literacy is important, addressing disparities, and what can be done to improve health literacy in the next quarter. The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) defines health literacy as “the degree to which people have the capacity to obtain, process and understand the basic health information and services necessary to make appropriate health decisions.
These findings show a clear gap between what people know they should do to prevent diseases and what they are actually doing to actively control their health. Health literacy refers to the ability of individuals to understand important health-related information, such as dosages, consent forms, acronyms, and other common forms of medical jargon. The responsibility for health literacy is multidimensional and many people will have many ideas about where the responsibility lies. NNLM member organizations provide health professionals and the general public with health information resources and services.
These words are likely to be incomprehensible jargon, especially for the nine out of 10 adults who have difficulty understanding health information. This recent definition focuses on a person's ability to use health information instead of simply understanding it, allowing them to make well-informed decisions about their personal health and the health of those around them.