In recognition of Health Literacy Month this October, the Georgia Alliance for Health Literacy is urging all Georgians to prepare for medical appointments by listing good questions to ask their doctors and other healthcare professionals.
This year’s Health Literacy Month theme is “Be a Health Literacy Hero…Ask Good Questions for Good Health.” It’s important for patients to feel comfortable asking questions about their health. The Alliance also wants doctors, nurses, pharmacists, dentists, and other care providers to encourage their patients’ questions. The American Medical Association and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say that patients and their family members can begin by asking simple questions such as: What is my main problem? What do I need to do? Why is it important for me to do that?
“When people ask their doctors and caregivers Good Questions for Good Health, they are taking charge of their own health,” says Don Rubin, chair of the Georgia Alliance for Health Literacy.” This October, we want to recognize patients, providers, and health organizations throughout Georgia who are encouraging conversations that advance health literacy in their communities.”
During the month of October, the Alliance is asking Georgians to nominate health literacy heroes. A health literacy hero could be a health professional who encourages questions and answers them clearly. Or a health literacy hero could be a family member who accompanies a patient to appointments to make sure that the right questions are asked. Any patient or consumer who takes responsibility for asking questions about her health could be a health literacy hero too. Georgians can post Health Literacy Hero nominations, including self-?nominations, at GAHealthLiteracy.org or through the national Health Literacy Month website, www.healthliteracymonth.org.
The Georgia Alliance for Health Literacy wants to foster more interaction and sharing of information among health professionals and patients, but many barriers need to be overcome.
“At times, patients may feel embarrassed or hesitant to ask questions about their health,” says Laurel Murrow, MD, medical director of Mercy Health Center and Assistant Professor at the GRU-UGA Medical Partnership. “Yet good physicians, pharmacists, and nurses welcome questions, because they know that patients do better when they have the information they need.”
Available on the Centers for Disease Control web site, Good Questions for Good Health guides employers, providers, educators, and others in better understanding the information patients tell them. Questions increase overall communication, reduce medical errors, and lead to better patient outcomes.
“Health awareness campaigns such as this one become even more valuable when people put them into every day practice,” says Rubin. “With these programs, Georgians can improve health literacy one good question at a time.”
View PDF version of this news release here.
The Georgia Alliance for Health Literacy (GAHL) provides resources and coordination in support of health literacy, promotion, education, and health equity in Georgia. GAHL elevates health literacy among patients and consumers, employees, healthcare providers, organizations and systems in both private and public sectors throughout the state and fosters research to better understand the impact of health literacy on our local communities. Visit GAHealthLiteracy.org or send an email to [email protected] for more information.