The cognitive and social skills that determine the motivation and ability of individuals to gain access, to understand and use information in ways which promote and maintain good health.” (WHO 1998)
Health Literacy is linked to literacy and entails people’s knowledge, motivation and competences to access, understand, appraise, and apply health information in order to make judgements and take decisions in everyday life concerning healthcare, disease prevention and health promotion to maintian or improve qualtity of life during the life course (Sörensen et al. 2012, 3).
Low health literacy means patients have difficulty using health information received by doctors/nurses, media and within their community.
Low health literacy leads to higher medical costs and use of inefficient mix of services.
Poor health literacy accounts for 3-5 % of total healthcare costs at system level.
By improving people's access to health information and their capacity to use it effectively, health literacy is critical to empowerment.
Patients need accurate and understandable information but often have low or problematic level of health literacy.
Patient Advocacy Groups representing and supporting patients play a key role concerning health literacy.