Health Literacy

Nationally, it is estimated that low health literacy costs $106 to $238 billion each year. That’s because low health literacy leads to increased frequency of hospitalizations, improper emergency room use, improper medication use, inappropriate use (or no use) of healthcare services, poor self-management of chronic disease, and inadequate response in emergency situations.

It was less than 10 years ago that health literacy was first measured on a national scale. The results revealed that only 12% of Americans are proficient in health literacy. Health literacy isn’t just an issue that affects people with limited English or low literacy skills; anyone can be challenged by the healthcare system.

The AMCNO is pleased to provide our members with the following resources to help your patients better understand health information—and, ultimately, improve health outcomes.


Health Literacy – Information for Health Professionals

Health literacy is the degree to which individuals have the capacity to obtain, process, and understand basic health information and services needed to make appropriate health decisions. Take an online course with available CME credit.

Source: Health Resources and Service Administration 


Health Literacy – Tools from AMA

This AMA website page features a variety of tools and information tailored for physicians. 

Source: American Medical Association


Health Literacy: A Prescription to End Confusion

The report states that nearly half of all American adults have difficulty understanding and using health information, and patients with limited health literacy have a higher rate of hospitalization and use of emergency services.

Source: Institute of Medicine

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