The economic costs and impacts of health illiteracy have implications and are relevant to a range of populations. As defined by the Health Resources and Services Administration, health literacy involves individuals processing and understanding information relating to their health. This is needed in order to make health related decisions. As discussed by the National Library of Medicine, health literacy also requires utilizing both analytical and decision-making skills, which are both beneficial for patients.
Low health literacy is also a significant issue and is more prevalent among older adults, minorities, and medically underserved populations. A Forbes article has found that half of U.S. consumers have difficulty navigating the healthcare system. In addressing this, employers and healthcare providers can provide healthcare assistance to employees and patients, as reported by Forbes. This can also be helpful in the overall goal of improving health literacy.
In addition, as referenced in the National Action Plan to Improve Health Literacy, employers working in the healthcare field can also provide other important incentives. These include financial related incentives, which can be helpful in promoting health literacy. Employers can also provide health insurance education to their employees.
Human Health Project, and other public health nonprofit organizations, can also help in promoting and advocating for health literacy. This includes incorporating programs relating to this topic. Human Health Project’s courses, through its Learning Academy, have been effective in informing patients about healthcare. These courses offered by the Learning Academy include, “Understanding the Language of Health (Health Literacy),” “How Real-World Data is Transforming Healthcare,” “Finding Credible Information Online,” “Patient Empowerment & the ePatient Movement,” and “Your Rights as a Patient.”
Additionally, Human Health Project’s recently piloted patient advocacy workshop programs, “Understanding the Healthcare System in Northern Ireland,” have also been effective. The implementation of Human Health Project’s workshop programs, “Understanding the Healthcare System in Northern Ireland,” took place from February to May of 2022. The pilot concluded in May 2022 with positive patient outcomes. These workshop programs, which included the following three modules of “Your Rights As a Patient,” “How To Stand Up For Yourself And Be Heard,” and “Where To Get Help In Northern Ireland,” provided useful and insightful information. This was in regard to understanding the healthcare system, how to navigate it and where to get help. Additional Patient Advocacy workshops offered by Human Health Project will include modules on “Health Literacy,” and “How to Find Credible Information Online.”
The economic costs of health illiteracy are significant to note. The impact of employers and medical providers in addressing the issue of health literacy is meaningful in rectifying the economic and health factors. The courses offered by Human Health Project’s Learning Academy, as well as the workshops offered by its Patient Advocacy Program, are helpful as well in improving skills of health illiteracy. The improvement of health literacy overall is a vital issue, that be deeply impactful for so many people.
More information about Human Health Project’s Learning Academy can be found here
More information about HHP’s patient advocacy workshop, “Understanding the Healthcare System in Northern Ireland,” can be found here