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The Effect of Health Literacy on American Health Care Costs

A new article in Health Affairs examines the relatively low level of health literacy in America, finding only 12 percent of Americans are proficient at health literacy and 14 percent of Americans have a below basic level of understanding of the health care system.

The authors argue that simplifying and making written materials easier to understand, improving providers’ communications skills, and increasing patients’ self-management skills are essential to improve health literacy in America.

One of the Michigan’s Health Council’s programs, Education2 Practice, is helping to deliver some of these goals through interprofessional training programs. Research has shown that interprofessional learning experiences have positive outcomes on patients’ ability to understand their treatment plan to be better engaged in their own health care decision-making.

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