Author in the Room: Caring for Patients with Limited Health Literacy

October 2011 Author in the Room® Teleconference


Author: Michael Paasche-Orlow, MD, MA, MPH


Article: Caring for Patients with Limited Health Literacy


Summary Points:

  • Health literacy is the degree to which individuals have the capacity to obtain, process, and understand health information, skills, and services needed to make informed health decisions and take informed actions.
  • Clinicians can help patients with limited health literacy by removing unneeded complexity in their treatment regimens and in the health care system and by using teach-back methods to assess and improve understanding.
  • A patient-based universal precaution approach for confirming patient comprehension of critical self-care activities can help ensure that all patients have their health literacy needs identified.


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