October is National Health Literacy Month

“Health Literacy” is the ability to read, understand and act upon health information.1 Health literacy is defined by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010, Title V, as “the degree to which an individual has the capacity to obtain, communicate, process, and understand basic health information and services to make appropriate health decisions.”2 According to the National Action Plan to Improve Health Literacy, almost 9 out of 10 adults have difficulty using routine health information.1


Health literacy skills help patients not only find information and services related to their healthcare, but also to process the meaning and usefulness of such information and services. Health literacy skills can also help patients understand their healthcare choices and determine what information and which services best suit their needs so they can make appropriate decisions.2

Providers of health information and services to others, such as a doctors, nurses, dentists, pharmacists, or public health workers, also need health literacy skills so they can assist their patients in finding information and services. Health literacy skills help our healthcare workers better communicate healthcare information, and understand what patients are asking for, and which information and service will work best.2

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has resources for those who create or disseminate health information to make such information more accessible and understandable. According to the CDC, health information should be Accurate, Accessible, and Actionable. Follow the links below to learn more and to make sure your health information follows The Three A’s.





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