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Learn about health literacy programs in a range of settings with leading experts and discuss implementation strategies for launching new programs

Discussion Briefs

Launching a Health Literacy Initiative: Implementation Strategies

Many studies have shown that the skills required to effectively understand and use health care-related forms of communication are far beyond the abilities of the average person–in fact, only 12 percent of English- speaking individuals have proficient health literacy skills.1 Health literacy encompasses the educational, social, and cultural factors that influence an individual’s expectations and preferences surrounding their health care, but also the ways in which these factors interact with the demands of the health care system.

Several factors have caused the issue of health literacy to bubble to the surface in recent years–the aging and evolving racial and ethnic composition of the US population, the passage of the Affordable Care Act which has launched some Americans into the health care system for the first time, and the well-documented effects of low health literacy levels on patient safety. This influx of patients with possible low health literacy levels requires a call to action for addressing this issue both on a practice and policy-based level.

This Expert Panel aimed to highlight health literacy programs and implementation strategies in a range of settings.
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