When it comes to living a healthy life, access to health care is critical, but understanding how to use it is as well, which is why advocates are working to improve health literacy statewide.
Michelle Ganote with the Kentuckiana Health Collaborative says when it comes to prescription information, discharge instructions and appointment scheduling; even the most well-informed consumer still struggles to navigate the complexities of our current health.care system.
"90 million Americans have problems understanding health-care information, yenve're expecting them to engage in an increasingly complex health-care system,” says Ganote.
The Collaborative is holding a community health forum on Tuesday in Louisville in conjunction with Health Literacy of Kentucky to talk about ways to improve health literacy and, as a result, overall health in Kentucky.
Ganote says while the problem is widespread, the people who experience the lowest levels of health literacy tend to be the most vulnerable populations.
"Older adults, minorities, people that have less than a high school education or low income levels and people that have compromised health status. And so we have to think about health equity because these factors really put people atrisk, for poorer health outcomes,” added Ganote.
Ganote adds that the problem is also a costly one for both patients and providers. A recent study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that increasing health literacy could save more than 100 billion dollars per year.
(provided by Kentucky News Connection)