October is Health Literacy Month

Each October, Health Literacy Month is observed in America. What is ‘health literacy’? It is the capacity to obtain, process and understand basic health information and services to make appropriate health decisions. Health Literacy Month is a time for organizations and individuals to promote the importance of understandable health information.
Since its founding in 1999, thousands of awareness-raising events have taken place across the country and around the world, including communication workshops for professionals, health education programs for patients and the public and educational offerings for students of all levels.
The theme for Health Literacy Month 2013 is “Be a Health Literacy Hero,” with the focus of taking action and finding ways to improve how we communicate health information. It is anticipated that health care organizations, community coalitions, government agencies, businesses, advocacy groups and educational programs will host a wide range of events, as they have done in years past.
Good, effective communication is critical to having a successful clinician-patient relationship. Low health literacy and breakdowns in communication often lead to confusion and poor health outcomes, such as higher rates of hospitalization, lower use of preventive services and difficulty managing chronic conditions.
In the spring of 2011, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) launched a health literacy website and blog in an attempt to deliver information and resources on current activities in health literacy research, practice and evaluation for public health. The site will also work to bring new and timely information about CDC’s work to improve health literacy and highlight the work of others who are implementing the goals and strategies of the National Action Plan to Improve Health Literacy.
For more information regarding Health Literacy Month, please visit www.HealthLiteracyMonth.org

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