#DYK? This year’s #NMHM23 theme, Better Health Through Better Understanding, addresses improving health literacy and supporting our communities’ cultural and linguistic needs. We couldn’t agree more. Visit @MinorityHealth for more information.

Healthcare is a very technical industry that requires a lot of specialized knowledge. However, patients’ success depends on how well medical professionals communicate with patients and their families. A good way to improve communication is to address health literacy and develop a listening culture.

What is health literacy?

Health literacy is understanding, assessing, and acting on health information. Patients need to understand their diagnosis and treatment plan, which will help them become active partners in their health care.

It is estimated that only 14 percent of the U.S. population has proficient health literacy. [Source: NCES]

Health literacy is a key component of quality care. It can also help prevent medical errors, reduce hospital readmission, and improve patient satisfaction. Patients who are more informed about their healthcare experience have improved outcomes.

How we communicate with each other is a complex process with many layers. It involves how we talk about things, use words, and understand each other’s perspectives. Developing a listening culture means valuing a patient’s perspective and working together toward a mutual understanding.

It is estimated that over 60 percent of racial and ethnic minority patients over the age of 18 believe it is at least somewhat important to visit a health care provider who shares or understands their culture. [Source: CDC]

Language is constantly evolving, but our culture also influences it. This means our language changes depending on who we’re talking to and what they bring to the conversation.

When patients are provided with culturally and linguistically appropriate information, they are empowered to create healthier outcomes for themselves and their communities. [Source: OMH]

In conclusion, the healthcare industry must increase patients’ health literacy and develop a listening culture to improve patient education and care. Doing so will positively contribute toward the quality of life for the patients and cost the healthcare system less money. By acknowledging these issues now and taking the proper measures to address them in the future, we can improve communication between patients, their families, and medical professionals. And we all know that improved communication leads to better care and ultimately a healthier society.

At Health Evolve, we believe the rise of patient partners is our greatest opportunity to close the health equity gap. Our comprehensive and simple tools equip patients as partners and position providers with clinical insights needed for a personalized care experience. Our Health Culture Index is a global tool designed to understand the patient value system – collecting patient stories and translating them into meaningful and measurable analytics. We connect research and people through technology.

You’re invited to get involved. Message us for details.

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