Healthcare Literacy Key to Preventing Health Complications

Those with limited healthcare understanding:

  • Have chronic conditions and trouble managing them
  • Avoid important medical tests
  • Have higher rates of hospital and emergency room visits
  • Struggle with reading a vaccination chart
  • Have trouble understanding a prescription label’s dosage
  • Aren’t familiar with medical terms or how the body works
  • May struggle to understand numbers or risks before making a healthcare decision
  • Become frightened or confused when they learn they have a serious illness
  • May need to self-manage a complex medical condition

Health Literacy is the capacity to obtain, process and understand basic health information needed to make GOOD health decisions.

Ask your healthcare provider:

  1. What is my main health problem?
  2. What do I need to do?
  3. Why is it important for me to do this?
  4. Ask for health education materials/written instructions.

Tips for better understanding:

  • At the doctor’s office, ask for clarification if something is not clear
  • Repeat back any instructions to confirm understanding to ensure that information does not get missed
  • Bring a friend or a family member to appointments to ensure that information is not missed
  • Schedule a follow-up visit and follow all post-care instructions
  • Keep medication card updated, share with all providers and pharmacists

Learn how you can create your own health literacy campaign for your organization!