Health Literacy Month
October is Health Literacy Month. Health Literacy is defined in the Institute of Medicine report,” Health Literacy: A Prescription to End Confusion”, “as the degree to which individuals have the capacity to obtain, process, and understand basic health information and services needed to make appropriate health decisions.” Health literacy is not simply the ability to read. It requires the ability to understand complex ideas and the ability to apply decision making skills to health situations. For example, it includes the ability to understand instructions on prescription drug bottles, appointment slips, medical education brochures, doctor’s directions and consent forms, and the ability to negotiate complex health care systems. To do this, patients may need to be visually literate and able to understand graphs and visual information, computer literate and able to use today’s technology options, information literate to be able to obtain and apply relevant information and be numerically literate to calculate or reason numerically.
At Asthma and Allergy Associates we take health literacy seriously. It has been said that patients and their families may only remember 30% of what they are told at a doctor’s appointment. At our office we use the entire team – front desk, transcriptionist, nurses, nurse practitioner, and physicians – to make sure that you leave with a clear assessment and plan. When we implemented a computerized medical record 3 years ago that included one important criterion: the ability to print a plan for patients and their families. We often mail our initial consultation letters to the referring doctors and to patients. This way you can see what went into our thought process leading to the assessment and plan. We also have the resources and can support vision impaired or non-English speaking patients.
Every year, we help hundreds of people with Asthma Action Plans and Food Allergy Action Plans. Dr.’s Soteres and Webb perform multiple volunteer talks to health advocacy groups and schools. Recently, Dr. Soteres spoke at MOSAIC (Mothers of Severely Allergic Infants and Children) in Colorado Springs and spoke at the District 20 Food Allergy Summit as the keynote speaker. Our wonderful physicians, immunologists and allergists care about the local community and work hard to educate everyone around them. If you ever have any questions, or want information on the next public speaking session one of them gives, just give us a call today! We would be glad to assist you. AACOS is here to help you and your needs!