Health Literacy

A Policy Challenge for Advancing High-Quality Health Care : Creating a Health-Literate America May Not Be Easy, but It Is the Right Goal for Health Policy

Published in: Health Affairs, v. 22, no. 4, July/Aug. 2003, p. 147-153

Posted on RAND.org on December 31, 2002

by Ruth M. Parker, Scott C. Ratzan, Nicole Lurie

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Health literacy, at the intersection of health and education, involves more than reading ability. Studies of health literacy abilities show that many Americans with the greatest health care needs have the least ability to comprehend information required to navigate and function in the U.S. health care system. This paper defines health literacy as an important policy issue and offers strategies for creating a health-literate America.

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