The medical lexicon and associated jargon are both dense, complicated, filled with data, and often difficult to navigate for patients who may receive news about their diagnoses or condition while in a negative emotional state. The extent to which they comprehend this information relies on their health literacy, which corresponds to their ability to gain access to, understand, and use information to promote and maintain good health for themselves, their families, as well as their communities. Health literacy includes the ability to read and comprehend essential health-related materials, such as prescription bottles, post-appointment slips, and educational literature.
Having adequate health literacy can increase a patient’s capacity to take responsibility for their and their family’s health. Individuals who lack health literacy may encounter challenges in understanding health information, including hospital discharge and treatment instructions, which may have detrimental effects on their health outcomes. Continue reading