Health Literacy - Pharmaceutical Executive

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Health Literacy

DTC's New Job: Boosting Compliance

September 1, 2003

Imagine a footrace. A hundred runners assemble at the starting line, but when the starter's pistol goes off, ten of them change their minds and don't run at all. At the first turn, another dozen drop out: They're too far behind, and they feel like they can never catch up. Halfway into the race, still more quit: They're tired, they're sore, and they don't think they can make it. With the finish line in sight, still more grind to a halt: They haven't paced themselves, and they can't go on. By the time the runners reach the finish line, only a handful are left.

Health Literacy: A Silent Crisis

September 1, 2003

The complex US health system ultimately boils down to something simple: two people-patient and physician-exchanging information. And no matter how much science and technology have transformed medicine, from iron lungs and invasive surgery to genomics and prevention, the patient-physician relationship is still the crux of healthcare delivery.

Breaking Through Denial

September 1, 2003

Low health literacy is widely recognized as a public health issue that affects access to care for people of all ages, races, and income levels. However, the stigma experienced by people with "diseases of denial"-such as erectile dysfunction (ED), HIV/AIDS, herpes, mental illness, and constipation-is an equally insidious, yet less tangible obstacle to seeking medical treatment. When low health literacy and denial coexist, the barriers to care can be overwhelming.

Teaching Doctors to Talk

September 1, 2003

A recent study shows that patients forget most of what their doctor tells them less than six minutes after walking out the door. That's a serious problem if they were just given a new prescription or instructions to prepare for surgery. But even patients, whose physicians give them advice about something less urgent like preventive care, may not be getting enough out of their office visits because they simply don't understand what they were told and they're too embarrassed to admit it.

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