Why Health Literacy is Important

A number of studies have suggested that health literacy is an important aspect of a person’s health. Studies have found that people with low levels of health literacy tend to have poorer health outcomes. Fortunately, there are ways to enhance health


Low health literacy is linked to poor health outcomes


Insufficient health literacy is a risk factor for poor health outcomes. It may contribute to hospital readmissions, emergency room visits, nonadherence to medication regimens, and increased mortality. This condition is especially common among individuals with low education and socioeconomic status.

Health literacy refers to the specific skills and knowledge a person needs to make informed health decisions. This can include reading, listening, and interpreting health information. People with high health literacy are better able to understand health care information and communicate with their health providers.

Low health literacy is more prevalent in people with limited education and those from minority groups. Although a number of studies have been conducted on patients with inadequate health literacy, most have been conducted in emergency departments or outpatient settings.

Many of the factors that affect health literacy outside the medical setting


are related to access to primary care physicians and support in the community. However, low health literacy also affects the patient-physician relationship.

The cost of poor health literacy is estimated to be $106 to $238 billion annually. It represents seven to 17 percent of personal health care expenditures.

People with low health literacy tend to delay seeking medical attention or to delay hospital admission. Furthermore, they are less likely to follow treatment plans, to seek follow-up appointments, and to participate in follow-up care.


Low health literacy thrives in a value-based system of care


Low health literacy is a growing concern in the health care industry. It has a variety of negative effects, including increased hospitalization rates and unnecessary ER visits.

Health literacy is defined as the ability to read, understand, and act on health information. This may include being able to recognize and evaluate medical advice, follow written or spoken directions, and perform other basic tasks.

In general, people who have low health literacy are less likely to use preventative services and to take advantage of a number of other resources. Their lack of health literacy can also lead to delays in seeking medical care and having health issues treated.

The health care industry should address this issue to improve the quality of care and save money. It is estimated that inadequate health literacy costs the U.S. health system approximately $238 billion a year.

A study from the mobile health firm MedEncentive shows that a lack of knowledge about managing your own health can lead to unnecessary ER visits and emergency department readmissions. Although the study is limited to adults, it highlights an important gap in health management knowledge.

Health literacy has many advantages, including a reduced need for follow-up appointments and improved medication adherence. It also allows patients to better understand the risks associated with diseases and other illnesses.


Barriers to health literacy


In order to make effective health decisions, patients need to have access to adequate information. Healthcare systems and health professionals need to support the development of this skill. However, identifying and addressing the relevant barriers to health literacy is a challenge

While there are many studies addressing health literacy, most have focused on adults, and few on children. A recent study identifies four key themes and barriers to health literacy. Using a multi-method approach, researchers explored the development of the health literacy skill over a twelve-month period.

The health care system is complex and uses dense and sophisticated language. Therefore, patients are often unable to meet the demands of the system. These factors contribute to low health literacy rates. Moreover, the health literacy required to make optimal health care decisions is likely to differ across individuals.

Health literacy is defined as the ability to understand, apply, and interpret health information. This may include understanding medical information, treatment options, and instructions. Health professionals have limited knowledge about this skill. Some patients, especially those with complex medication regimes, will have limited opportunities to develop it.

Using a longitudinal methodology, we evaluated the health literacy skills of 17 study participants over a 12-month period. Identifying the key features of the process was the primary goal of the project. We found that the cardiovascular risk reduction program improved participants’ ability to appraise and discuss health information with HCPs.