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Tool To Detect Health Literacy among Patients

Dr. Barry D. Weiss, professor of family and community medicine and colleagues developed the latest tool for identifying the health literacy among patients. //

They developed a tool which is called the Newest vital sign. It is an easy three minute questionnaire with six questions based on an ice cream nutrition label. Based on the number of correct answers provided by the patient their health literacy can be calculated.

Then it is for the doctors, nurses and other health care officials to interact with the patients. This will help doctors to understand the patient’s health intelligence quotient and interpret in simpler terms.

This tool is available in both Spanish and English. This will provide a clue about the patient’s ability to read and understand health information in English.

Diseases like diabetes, asthma, and heart failure need more knowledge from the patient’s side to understand their problem and hence they are educated, trained and provided with the care they need.

People have such low health IQ that it is difficult for them to understand the instructions on the drugs, insurance and consent forms. As a result they receive improper health care with increased expenditure and have to face high risks.

Statistics show that 50% of the adults in US have low health IQ. This is due to the fact that a greater part of the whites and Native Americans have low health IQ. Apart from this the other people like recent immigrants, old people, people with low income and chronic disease all have low health literacy.

The health care official said that due to low health literacy people end up paying a huge amount ($58-$73 billion/year).

Hence there is an utmost necessity to improve the health literacy among people.

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