Our low health literacy needs to be fixed

Our low health literacy needs to be fixed

By increasing people's ability to take charge of their own health, health literacy aids in narrowing the gap between rich and poor in terms of wellness.

Mature patients with chronic health disorders, individuals with little education who are not necessarily from a lower socioeconomic group, and those who have myths and stigma about seeking medical care are more likely to have low health literacy (LHL). Simply knowing how to read and write does not make one health literate. Patients with a high socioeconomic status and/or educational background tend to have a higher prevalence of LHL.

Much of a patient's adherence to treatment protocols is affected by LHL. Chronic disease patients who don't take their medication as prescribed have worse health outcomes, more healthcare costs, more hospitalizations, and a higher risk of dying. Higher medical bills are a common result of low health literacy.

Nearly half of all patients admitted to the general internal medicine unit in two urban tertiary care hospitals in Saskatoon, Canada, have LHL, according to a recent assessment funded by the Royal University Hospital Foundation. In addition, individuals with LHL and higher education levels were more likely to return to the ER.

More than half of participants in a cross-sectional survey of 259 Hong Kong school leaders (conducted between April 2021 and February 2022) had LHL. This research was conducted during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Patients are more likely to follow treatment guidelines if they have access to and can make sense of health information that is tailored to their condition. A patient's ability to produce the desire, faith, and proper behavior necessary to enhance treatment and medication adherence can depend on their grasp of this concept. Inadequate health education is a scourge that must be alleviated. It is the responsibility of all those involved in healthcare, including patients, stakeholders, and local and national governments.