Knowing how to keep healthy
HEALTH literacy is the degree to which individuals have the capacity to obtain, process, and understand basic health information and services needed to make appropriate health decisions.
Health literacy affects people’s ability to:
navigate the healthcare system, including filling out complex forms and locating providers and services;
share personal information, such as health history, with providers; and
engage in self-care and chronic-disease management.
In addition to basic literacy skills, health literacy requires knowledge of health topics.
People with limited health literacy often lack knowledge or have misinformation about the body as well as the nature and causes of disease.
Without this knowledge, they may not understand the relationship between lifestyle factors such as diet and exercise and various health outcomes.
Low literacy is linked to poor health outcomes such as higher rates of hospitalisation and less frequent use of preventive services.
Even though communication technologies, like the internet, continue to change and increase our access to health information, doctors, nurses, and pharmacists continue to be the number one source of trusted health information.
A good relationship between a patient and doctor can have a tremendous positive impact on your health.
Your questions help your doctor and health care team learn more about you.
Your doctor’s answers can help you make better decisions, receive better care, avoid medical mistakes, and feel better about your health care.
Your questions can also lead to better results for your health. Time is limited with doctor visits. Prepare for your appointment by thinking what questions you would like to ask and write them down.
You can ask the doctor to write down the answers.
You could also consider taking a friend or carer with you to your appointment, sometimes another set of ears can help!