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Health Literacy: What It Is, Why It Matters, And How A Health Advisor Can Help

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Health literacy isn’t just about knowing which medical websites you can trust. It’s about knowing how to access and understand health information so that you can make effective healthcare decisions. Healthcare providers take health literacy seriously, because patients who are well-informed about health issues have better outcomes. For example, if someone is unaware that the COVID-19 vaccine is safe, they may delay their vaccination, putting their health at risk.

To be health literate, people need access to accurate health information, and it has to be presented in a way that they understand. Research shows that low health literacy is associated with poor self-care, inappropriate use of emergency services, higher rates of hospitalization, and increased healthcare costs.

In healthcare settings, the whole team plays a role in improving health literacy. A doctor may use a plastic model as a visual reference to help explain a health issue to a patient. A nurse may go over discharge instructions with a patient before they leave the hospital.

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