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Wednesday, June 18, 2008 9:00 AM

Radiocast: Health Literacy Limited for Many Americans

Rand: This is Healthcare 411, information for better health. The latest AHRQ data shows just 12 percent of America’s adults have the skills to understand and evaluate information about their health and health care options so they can make good decisions. Experts like AHRQ Director Dr. Carolyn Clancy say people with limited health literacy may not get good results from their health care and that could increase their risks for medical errors.

Dr. Clancy: Typically, we see more limited health literacy among older adults, minorities, immigrants, poor families, and people with chronic mental and physical conditions. Anyone can have difficulty with complex health information.

Rand: So what can patients do to make sure they get the most out of their care?

Dr. Clancy: Ask questions! Then, make sure you get and understand the answers you need so that you fully understand your health information.

Rand: To learn more about this and dozens of other health topics, go to healthcare411.ahrq.gov. Healthcare 411 is produced by AHRQ, the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. I’m Rand Gardner for Healthcare 411.

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