One in Three U.S. Residents Struggles with Medical Information
An estimated one in three U.S. residents has "low health literacy," or a limited ability to read and comprehend medical information, ABCNews' "World News Tonight" reported yesterday. According to ABCNews, 40 million "functionally illiterate" U.S. residents, who read at or below the fifth grade level, have "an impossible time" understanding physicians' instructions, and "even literate Americans can be overwhelmed" by such information. New drugs, technologies and "a never-ending push to cut costs" cause patients to be discharged from the hospital "before they understand what they have to do to take care of themselves," ABCNews reports. Louisiana State University family medical psychologist Dr. Terry Davis said patients with low health literacy "often are taking medicine inaccurately, and often we end up having to hospitalize them because they get sicker" (Kofman, "World News Tonight," ABCNews, 9/16). A video clip of the segment is available online in RealPlayer.This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.