Improving health literacy requires changes in organizational and professional practices. 5 Ways to Improve Health Literacy. Patients with poor health literacy make more medication errors. But it often isn’t. Low health literacy affects patient outcomes and health care costs. The plan includes seven broad goals with multiple high level strategies for various stakeholders and provides a focal point for the field. The US Department of Health and Human Services, the National Academy of Medicine (NAM), and state consortiums have developed sweeping proposals to improve health literacy. Improving Health Literacy: Current Strategies and Why They Fall Short. However, it is essential that those steps are coordinated and strategic to improve health literacy. Governments around the world have adopted national policies and programs to improve health literacy. National Action Plan to Improve Health Literacy (2010) seeks to engage organizations, professionals, policymakers, communities, individuals, and families in a linked, multi-sector effort to improve health literacy. Health literacy means your ability to collect and understand your health information so you can make the best decisions for your unique situation. Health literacy can be described as the possession of literacy skills (reading and writing) and the ability to perform knowledge-based literacy tasks (acquiring, understanding and using health information) that are required to make health-related decisions in a variety of different environments (home, community, health clinic). How Low Health Literacy Affects Patients. CDC Health Literacy. Only about 12% of adults in the United States have good health literacy, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. This paper examines progress in the development of evidence to support these policies from interventions to improve health literacy among community populations. It is imperative health organizations take steps to ensure information, products, and services are accessible and understandable. Because health literacy is a systemic problem, the onus of improving it does not fall on the patient. Improving health literacy—that 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—is critical to achieving the objectives set forth in Healthy People 2020 and, more broadly, key to the success of our national health agenda. Health literacy is the degree to which people can get, process, and understand basic health information and services needed to make health decisions. Health providers must understand the full breadth of the digital health ecosystem to determine how to improve health literacy. Healthcare providers and institutions must work to better educate patients, meet them on their level, and ensure medical options, instructions, and treatment plans are fully understood. As such, improving health literacy among patients needs to be at the forefront of clinician’s minds. With packed clinic schedules, most primary care physicians are not able to spend more than 16 minutes per patient. This site provides information and tools to improve health literacy and public health. Given that a poor understanding of health and health-related issues can lead to higher rates of illness and poor self-care, it is in the best interest of the public for healthcare providers to introduce strategies that can help improve health literacy levels among patient populations. 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