Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Health literacy Month

“2012 – Be a Health Literacy Hero”

By Terry Orr

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BP, Glucose, A1C, …on and on and on – and what the heck do they all mean?  Really, if you’re not medically inclined – these are just gibberish without meaning – except when they really affect your life.

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According to AARP, nine out of ten American adults have some problems with health literacy.  Well folks, I clearly fall into one of the nine – my wife and Diane are both nurses – and this blog site writes about health-related topics nearly daily.  Yikes!

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What is Health Literacy
According to the US Department of Health and Human Services – health literacy as the degree to which individuals have the capacity to obtain, process, and understand basic health information and services needed to make appropriate decisions.

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Helen Osborne decided back in 1999 to start a grassroots initiative to raise awareness about the need for understanding health communication.  This year’s theme is Be a Health Literacy Hero – committing to actions you can, and will, take to make long-lasting difference. She offers these suggestions: Spread the word; Partner with others; and Make a business case about why health literacy matters.

A few things that came to mind while eating lunch today were:
  • Health word of the day;
  • More Health-related materials taught in K-12;
  • Expand current Health-related awareness days, weeks and months;
  • Encourage main-stream Media to take initiative to provide more (public service) information on health-related 30-60 second spots during peak viewing;
  • Encourage drug manufactures to invest in educating the public; and
  • Add health literacy into your topic of conversation during your family meals.

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Got and ideas?  If so, please share them with us – we would truly love to read them and pass them along.  Thanks!
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Something we all need to do better is to understand our diagnosis when departing from our doctor’s appointment.  Do we have the information we need to address the health issue?  The National Patient Safety Foundation encourages patients to “Ask Me 3” questions each time they meet with their health care provider:
  1. What is my main problem?
  2. What do I need to do?
  3. Why is it important for me to do this?

They make a lot of sense when you take a moment to think about them.

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