Improving Patient and Doctor Communication: Removing Medical Jargon

A new federal program called the Health Literacy Action Plan aims to reduce patient confusion with medical jargon by urging heath professionals to use language at a fourth to sixth grade reading level.  The US Department of Health and Human Services states in the plan that 9 out of 10 patients have difficulty utilizing information from health care providers.  The plan mirrors numerous studies which that have found that medical illiteracy affects medical outcomes.  Complete knowledge of health conditions can help disease management and prevention, thereby improving patient outcomes while reducing complications and overall health care costs.  Numerous programs to educate patients are being sampled by health care providers and insurers to improve patient outcomes, ranging from simplifying consent forms to providing simple reading materials on conditions.  For more information, check out the Health Literacy Action Plan and an article by The Wall Street Journal.

U.S. Dept. of HHS - Health Literacy Action Plan
Wall Street Journal
Flickr (pic)

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