Tag Archives: Health literacy

Doctors are telling, but patients aren’t hearing

I found this great post entitled ‘People who find doctor’s advice confusing don’t manage their diseases, why is this so hard to correct’.

It really spotlights the big gap that exists in how healthcare professionals communicate with their patients.

Every time I see that statistic – ‘Only 12% of U.S. adults have proficient health literacy’ I get angry. How arrogant for the industry to think that the fault lies with ‘others’. How about 95% of professionals in healthcare can’t make themselves understood by their patients?
Communication is made up of two parts; sending the message and the other receiving the message. HCP’s are sending messages that people have trouble understanding. The fault is with the sender!
The whole industry seems to think that patient education will fix many of the problems of the system when really we need to speak with patient (notice with and not to) about the things that are important to them, in a way that is meaningful to them to reach health goals that are relevant to them. It’s called patient centric healthcare.
Sorry but this health literacy thing really does make me mad. When you last found yourself with a medical emergency in a hospital did you understand, and probably more importantly remember, everything that was said to you?

The article rightly speaks to humanizing the language of health but, my point is that for too long healthcare professionals and pharma have bemoaned the failure of patients to take control of their health while at the same time the industry has failed to learn how to communicate effectively with them.

Here is the full article.





I thought healthcare was supposed to be about you and me……

Hands up if you are a clinician.

How about a medical researcher or in academia? What about if you are working in healthcare?

Why do I ask? Well I just had something of a ‘lights on’ moment. I was watching a great presentation about health literacy from a very prominent and thoughtful clinician and researcher. She had a great presentation – very thought-provoking and also insightful – a great combination.

But listening to her – and let me say that she really ‘get’s this stuff’ that’s clear. But. She get’s it as a clinician. The way she spoke, the terms she used, and the research driven, data based approach to things made it clear to me that one of the biggest issues we have is that healthcare is more about the science and the healthcare practitioners than it is about you and me.

The big debates. Key issues and questions all led by industry insiders. naturally enough taking a science based approach. Where is the expert input from you and me?

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