Integrating Health Literacy in Health Communication

Authored by: Kenzie A. Cameron , Michael S. Wolf , David W. Baker

The Routledge Handbook of Health Communication

Print publication date:  April  2011
Online publication date:  August  2011

Print ISBN: 9780415883146
eBook ISBN: 9780203846063
Adobe ISBN: 9781136931673

10.4324/9780203846063.ch19

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Abstract

The public today is exposed to more health information than at any previous time in human history. Health care professionals provide advice, television and radio programs broadcast stories about health and well-being, the Internet delivers nearly unlimited information on numerous health topics, and patients manage communication with their physicians via clinic and hospital Web portals. Exposure to such health information has the potential to assist individuals in managing their health; however, such information may be ineffective, or even counterproductive, if an individual is unable to access, understand, or apply the information. The field of health communication is well situated to play a crucial role in closing the gap in health literacy via development of carefully and creatively crafted messages, interventions, and communication techniques. To do so, communication scholars first must understand the definition, measurement, prevalence, and consequences of low health literacy.

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