Doctors highlight health literacy as priority among Southwest Georgians
Dr. Grant explains why patients need to ask questions
Visual language material to help patients who aren't native English speakers
Southwest Georgia Health District building
ALBANY, GA (WALB) -
Pharmacy technicians aren't the only ones who have to count pills, its a job for anyone taking medication on a daily basis that sometimes can be confusing, especially when your doctor tells you out of a bottle of 30 pills, take 1 tablet three times a day for 10 days but you think to make your symptoms go away faster you decide to take all three in one sitting...not a good idea.
"That could cause some dangerous levels, some swings in the levels that may end up resulting in hospitalization," Southwest Georgia Health District Director Dr. Grant said.
That's why doctors stress the importance of health literacy, the ability to obtain, process and apply health information, that includes interpreting graphs, understanding prescriptions and doctor requests. Dr. Grant says nearly 30 percent of those living in Southwest Georgia did not graduate from high school, making them more likely to lack health literacy.
Dr. Grant continues,"A lot of times people are embarrassed when they don't understand. Your time with the doctor is your time with the doctor and you want to utilize that time as effectively as you can."
It's a way to avoid being re-admitted which can cost the patient more money, try 4 times more than those with adequate skills. Dr. Grant says much of it does fall on the doctor but patients need to take part as well.
"Its being an active participate in their care and you can't do that if you don't understand," Dr. Grant shares.
Patients can also help by making sure to ask questions if something isn't clear, even reading or doing puzzles are ways to strengthen patients to become lifelong learners and better decision maker when it comes to health care.
Studies show that those who do take an active role are more likely heal faster.