October is Health Literacy Month! The Institute for Healthcare Advancement (IHA) and several other health agencies have come together to promote health literacy both for healthcare organizations as well as the individuals in the communities those organizations serve. Health Literacy Month is a time to evolve health literacy awareness into health literacy action.
One of the core tenants of health literacy is to promote the ability to both understand health information and use that information to make well-informed decisions. We in the healthcare organizations have an incredibly influential role and responsibility in ensuring that those we serve can have access to reliable and accurate information, are able to understand it, as well as be able to use that information. What good is health information if we are unable to use it?
Even though health literacy is important, we do not always need to take drastic actions. We can make small changes to our everyday language such as using jargon-free language when conversing with our patients and communities. The IHA has a variety of resource including a series of informational webinars and information on what others have done to promote health literacy on their website www.healthliteracymonth.org.