What is Health Literacy?
Many people have trouble understanding information about their health. America’s health system can be complicated and has a language all its own: Words and abbreviations that have important meanings. Health literacy is knowing how to get the health information you need, understand it and use the information to make good health care decisions.
Why is it important?
We know that Health Care Professionals who can communicate better have better success with patients and families who use their services. AND – People who use health care services that understand the health care system better, are healthier. When they are healthier our community is healthier. Limited or low health understanding (literacy) can affect your ability to:
- Correctly fill out forms
- Share critical information such as your health history
- Get important screening tests
- Take care of yourself or someone else
- Understand doctor’s advice or how to take medicines safely
How does it work?
For everyone it is about knowing how to get the information you need to communicate better. For example, People who use services can find out the best way to ask questions, read instructions, work their way through areas such as insurance forms and understand importance of really knowing about their health care. Health Care Professionals can easily find and use tools to learn more effective ways to communicate with print, online and in-person.
For People Who Use Health Care Services
Learning How To Be Health Literate
Being able to talk with and understand your health care professionals, and understand health insurance is important. People with health literacy skills are able to communicate, understand and have a better experience with their health care provider(s) and health care services. See the links below to help guide you with Health Literacy.
Learn More About Health Communications (Talking Health Care)
Questions Are The Answer
Writing questions before visiting your health care professional is an important item of preparation for you or your loved one’s health care visit. Also, be sure that your questions are answered in a way that you understand. Writing down the answers while you are with the health professional and then reading them back to confirm your understanding can eliminate questions after the appointment or give you an opportunity to clarify with your provider during your appointment.
Learn More About Working With Your Doctor
The 411 on Your 411 (Info On Your Info, that is)
Personal information and how it is handled is undergoing a big change. Whether you medical record is an electronic medical record (EMR) or and electronic health record (EHR) or on paper records, it is your information and you have a right to have access to it. Here are some helpful sites that explain more about this.
Learn About How to Access Your Health Records
Who Pays and How Do They Do It
The health care industry is a difficult one to understand and seems to have its own jargon at time. Here are a couple of guides to assist you with some of the confusing language you may find in health care.
Learn More About The Language of Insurance
Learn More About Choosing Insurance
Learn Nore About How Plans Work