Health Literacy

Monday, December 12, 2011

Health literacy includes the ability to understand instructions on prescription drug bottles, appointment slips, medical education brochures, doctors directions and consent forms and the ability to negotiate complex health care systems. Dr. Edward Hill discusses health literacy and why its important in todays 60 Second Housecall.

Dr. Hill:

Health literacy is the ability to understand your health, medical care and overall wellness. However, research shows that many adults find health information hard to understand.

This includes what doctors, nurses, pharmacists, and other health care professionals say or write in medical instructions and health insurance forms.

Low health literacy is particularly common among elderly persons, individuals with a chronic illness or disability, persons who live in poverty, individuals who do not speak English and persons with a mental illness.

Here are some ways you can get the most out of a visit to your doctor.

Take a trusted person with you, such as a family member or close friend.

Always ask questions if you do not understand something.

Always bring an up-to-date list of all the medications you take, including over-the-counter products and any natural or herbal preparations.

Write down your questions and concerns before you go to any health care visit so you dont forget what you want to know.

For North Mississippi Medical Center, Im Dr. Edward Hill.