Let’s take a practical quiz – What do you do when you get sick?
A. Do nothing; just wait and maybe I will get better.
B. See a Doctor right away and follow his/her medical treatment/advice literally
If you choose A, how long would you wait if not getting better?
C. less than 5 days
D. more than 5 days
If you choose B, which Doctor would you see/choose?
E. My family doctor
F. Don’t know; will need to find one.
Health Literacy Abilities
The complex medical information and treatment decisions can be challenging and require higher level of health literacy abilities, such as -
Decision Making Judgments Impact
Only thirteen percent of adults have Proficient health literacy, according to the National Assessment of Adult Literacy. In other words, nearly nine out of ten adults may lack the skills needed to manage their health and prevent disease. Fourteen percent of adults (30 million people) have Below Basic health literacy.
It is hard to be a good patient, isn’t it? Yet, not everyone is ready to be a good patient. In dealing with the psycho-social changes, physical illness, information overloads and decision making pressure, it is overwhelming and stressful.
Significant factors/behavior patterns impact decision making judgments may include -
1. Medical knowledge and health information deficit
2. Blinded trust (or under intimidation influence) of the medical authority; not seeking or unable to obtain additional evaluation/opinions
3. Misled by statistical numbers
4. Communication and analytical deficit – not asking the right questions and unable to analyze/ evaluate the complex information/results
5. Vulnerability and fear
6. Passive and reactive
7. Religious or cultural believes/rituals
8. Financial situation
9. Mental state and physical conditions at the decision time
10. Don’t know how to reach out for help or where to find available resources