Health Literacy

Health literacy, defined by the Institute of Medicine, is "the degree to which individuals have the capacity to obtain, process, and understand basic health information and services needed to make appropriate health decisions." Health literacy includes the ability to understand instructions on prescription drug bottles, appointment slips, medical education brochures, doctor's directions and consent forms, and the ability to negotiate complex health care systems. Health literacy is not simply the ability to read. It requires a complex group of reading, listening, analytical, and decision-making skills, and the ability to apply these skills to health situations.

As health communicators, we need to develop messages and communicate health information so that people can understand and act upon the information.
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        © Doug Seubert, Health Communications, a division of Advantage Consulting Services, LLC