Challenges and Implications of Health Literacy in Global Health Care

Challenges and Implications of Health Literacy in Global Health Care

Kijpokin Kasemsap (Suan Sunandha Rajabhat University, Thailand)
Copyright: © 2018 |Pages: 11
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-2255-3.ch324
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Abstract

This article explains the perspectives on health literacy; trends and issues with health literacy; and the challenges and implications of health literacy in global health care. Health literacy concerns the knowledge and competences of patient to meet the complex demands of health in modern health care. Providing effective patient information means acknowledging, understanding, and overcoming barriers to health literacy that physicians, health professionals, and patients might experience. Health literacy affects health behavior and the use of health services, thus affecting health outcomes and health costs in the health care organizations. The benefits of health literacy improvement include improved communication, greater adherence to treatment, greater ability to engage in self-care, improved health status, greater health care efficiency, and cost savings to the health care systems.
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Theory And Applications Of Health Literacy

This section emphasizes the perspectives on health literacy; trends and issues with health literacy; and the challenges and implications of health literacy in global health care.

Perspectives on Health Literacy

Health literacy encompasses several abilities including word recognition, reading comprehension, communication skills, and conceptual knowledge (Macek et al., 2010). The components of literacy include reading, writing, verbal communication, numeracy, and conceptual knowledge (Nielsen-Bohlman, Panzer, & Kindig, 2004). Federman et al. (2009) stated that memory and verbal communication fluency are strongly associated with health literacy. Effective communication among health professions is a necessary component of health care, as no single profession can adequately respond to the complexity of health problems that patients may possess (Barr, 2002).

While health literacy is a complex concept that includes many components, print prose and print document literacy are two essential health literacy skills that help patients understand the written health information (Baker, 2006). Written health information can be found in various areas of health, and includes medical instructions, medication information, disease information, admission forms, informed consent materials, and other examples (Hadden, 2015).

Key Terms in this Chapter

Patient: A person who is receiving medical care, or who is cared for by a physician or health professional, when necessary.

Skill: The ability acquired through the deliberate, systematic, and sustained effort to smoothly and adaptively execute the complex activities.

Health Care: The act of taking the preventative or necessary medical procedures to improve a person's well-being.

Knowledge: The understanding of a circumstance gained through experience.

Literacy: The ability to read and write.

Information: The data that is organized for a specific purpose and presented within a context that gives it meaning and relevance.

Communication: The two-way process of reaching mutual understanding, in which participant not only exchange information, news, ideas, and feelings, but also create and share meaning.

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