October is recognized as Health Literacy Month. So, we sat down with one of our family medicine doctors, Alexandra McKane, DO, to learn more about health literacy – what it is and why it’s important.
What is health literacy?
Health literacy is the ability to successfully find, understand and implement healthcare information to improve your personal health.
What should we understand about health literacy?
I want people to know that informed and personal decision-making about your healthcare can be made in all aspects of life. It’s important for you to research and understand different aspects of your health and apply that information to help improve your overall health. This may include making healthier food choices, talking with your medical provider about your healthcare regimen, or working with a local healthcare organization to better the health of your community members.
How do you encourage health literacy with your patients?
It’s important that each person is approached as an individual with their own unique life history, circumstances, and capabilities. I want every relationship between me and my patients to be a safe space for them to discuss their understanding or concerns about their medical conditions. And, I want them to feel empowered to ask any questions they have about how to best interact with their medical team.