Health Literacy

Health literacy is the degree to which individuals have the capacity to obtain, process, and understand basic health information and services needed to make appropriate health care decisions.1 The American Academy of Family Physicians champions the promotion of health literacy throughout all aspects of the healthcare system including but not limited to strategic and organizational design, research and quality improvement metrics and provision of direct patient care, especially to patients with low health literacy. Family physicians, medical staff, residents and medical students should receive training on health literacy and communication strategies to improve patient engagement and self-management.2

References

1. Ratzan, SC and RM Parker. 2000. Introduction. In National Library of Medicine current bibliographies in medicine: Health literacy, edited by C.R. Selden, M. Zorn, S.C. Ratzan, and R.M. Parker. NLM Pub. No. CBM 2000-1. Bethesda, MD: National Institutes of Health.
2. Brach, C, Dreyer, BP, and Schillinger, D. 2013. Physicians’ roles in creating health literate organizations: A call to action. J. Gen Intern Med 29(2):273-5.

(2014 COD)