Empowering patients and families to partner fully in their care
What is health literacy?
Health literacy refers to how well a person can get the health information and services that they need, and how well they understand them. It is also about using them to make good health decisions. It involves differences that people have in areas such as:
Access to information that they can understand
Skills, such as finding that information, communicating with health care providers, living a healthy lifestyle, and managing a disease
Knowledge of medical words, and of how their health care system works
Abilities, such as physical or mental limitations
Personal factors, such as age, education, language abilities, and culture
More than 90 million adults in the United States have low health literacy. It affects their ability to make health decisions. This can harm their health. They may have trouble managing chronic diseases, and leading a healthy lifestyle. They may go to the hospital more often, and have poorer health overall.
Source: National Institutes of Health (NIH)
Plain language (also called plain writing or plain English) is communication your audience can understand the first time they read or hear it.