Some Last Points About Health Literacy
Let's just take a moment and review what health literacy is and why it's important. Health literacy is a set of skills that allows us to take the best possible care of ourselves and to use the health system in a more streamlined way. A set of skills that influenced by multiple factors and that 88% of us don't possess. Health literacy is so important because it's costing us dearly- not only in terms of money- but also in terms of our personal, regional and national health, quality of life- how well we live, and quantity of life- how long we live.
What's the cost of having poor health literacy skills? The human cost is high in that we lose time with our families and/or at work, while also not feeling well or our best. If we don't know what to do with information to manage our health, we experience poor health and increasing need for medications, doctor visits, and eventually hospitalizations. With our nation having such a high rate of chronic disease, the cost of treatment is astronomical- not only to us individually, but also to the nation as a whole. Without the ability to use health information meaningfully, there is a higher rate of un-managed or under-managed health conditions, which over time leads to an individual needing more health care services. This can greatly affect our day to day activities which can result in many unintended effects on the affected and their loved ones, such as social isolation, depression and anxiety to name a few. Then there is the impact on the actual number of years we live. Poorly managed or un-managed chronic conditions such as heart failure, dementia, and diabetes leads to complications and death, at a much faster rate with much more sever disease.
So how can we attach that 88% rate of health illiteracy? EDUCATE OURSELVES! Each of the blog posts from this month is meant to give you some small but practical tips you can use to take better care of yourself and add to your health literacy toolbox. Educating you is why RNovations Health exists, because we believe in helping you gain the skills to transform how your manage your health needs.