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Health Literacy

Mark V. Williams, MD, FACP
Professor of Medicine
Director, Hospital Medicine Unit
Emory University School of Medicine
Executive Medical Director, EHCA

Program Description
Health literacy is the ability to read and comprehend prescription bottles, appointment slips, and other essential health-related materials required to function successfully as a patient in the health care setting. With the increasing emphasis on disease self-management, many patients with inadequate or marginal health literacy (up to a third of English-speaking patients over age 65) may not have the skills necessary to properly understand health messages and care for themselves. Given the magnitude of this costly issue, physicians need to consider patients’ health literacy when diagnosing and treating them.

Program Objectives
After viewing this program , participants should
be able to:

  • Define functional health literacy.
  • Describe the magnitude of inadequate health literacy in America, particularly among the elderly.
  • Explain the importance of patients’ health literacy on disease self-management skills.
  • Use specific techniques to improve the success of patient education.

Originally broadcast October 20, 2005


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