Health Literacy: Improving the Consumer

Do you know how to manage your own health care?

As an aspect of broader personal wellness, being able to take charge of your own health and wellness seems an obvious step. But research in the U.S. shows that a major obstacle to this is health literacy - particularly among groups potentially at risk. In fact, the study contends that health literacy is the biggest single predictor of overall health status, exerting more influence than factors like age, income, employment status, education level, or race and ethnicity.

A new initiative by the Partnership for Clear Health Communication (tm) is focused on helping consumers of health services improve their understanding of health options. The AskMe3 (tm) program is intended to provide health care consumers, health care providers, and organizations with a simple way to improve individual health literacy.

The answer, in their view, is equipping consumers to ask three simple questions:

The intended result is a simplified method of ensuring that consumers of health care services are able to get clear answers to their health concerns, and that they understand how to act appropriately on the health care advice provided.

The initiative's website provides a range of easily downloaded materials for patients, health providers, and employer organizations.

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