Health Literacy Month
Health Literacy Month falls during October and encourages healthcare providers not only to offer their patients easily digestible healthcare information but also to encourage individuals to take a more proactive role in their own healthcare.
According to the latest research, almost half of all Americans have difficulty obtaining or understanding basic healthcare information. Unfortunately, without the proper healthcare information, these Americans are unable to make informed decisions. That’s why it’s important for this month to be observed and for healthcare providers and patients to be on the same page.
The History of Health Literacy Month
Health Literacy Month was first established by author Helen Osborne in 1999. She aimed to increase access to healthcare information so that patients could adequately manage their health. When this month was first established, several organizations came on board to support it. Health Literacy Month has been observed ever since that year and seems to add new sponsors every year.
Important Facts About Health Literacy
You can’t celebrate Health Literacy Month without going over some trivia about health literacy. We found the following facts after extensive research, and we think that everyone observing this month will appreciate the information.
- Approximately a third of U.S. adults have low health literacy.
- Low health literacy is especially prevalent among low-income Americans.
- The latest research has estimated that low health literacy costs the U.S. economy approximately $240 billion per year.
- Providers can improve their patients’ health literacy by avoiding health industry jargon and providing clear, concise information.
- Patients with low health literacy are less likely to act on health information.
- Patients with low health literacy are less likely to read healthcare information.
- Patients with low health literacy are less likely to ask their doctor important questions.
- Patients with low health literacy are more likely to be scared and confused by a serious illness diagnosis.
Observing Health Literacy Month
The average patient can observe this month by opening lines of communication with the professionals who manage their healthcare. This means going into the doctor’s office with a list of questions they want answered and taking the time to discuss them with the doctor.
Healthcare professionals can also observe this month by ensuring that they provide their patients with accurate, up-to-date information and by taking the time to talk to their patients. Both patients and doctors can also observe this month by taking the time to spread the word about it using the hashtag #HealthLiteracyMonth on social media.