Thursday, November 17, 2011

Health Literacy on WIHI

Health Literacy: New Skills for Health Professionals 
November 17, 2011, 2:00 PM – 3:00 PM Eastern Time
Helen Osborne, MEd, OTR/L, President, Health Literacy Consulting; Author, Health Literacy from A to Z (Second Edition 2011)

Gail A. Nielsen, BSHCA,
Director, Learning and Innovation, Center for Clinical Transformation, Iowa Health System; Faculty, Institute for Healthcare Improvement

Lisa M. Stevens, MSHSA,
Director of Clinical Quality, Crusader Community Health

In its 2004 report, "Health Literacy: A Prescription to End Confusion," the Institute of Medicine defined health literacy as “the degree to which individuals have the capacity to obtain, process, communicate, and understand basic health information and services needed to make appropriate health decisions.” Seven years later, the field of health literacy has exploded into something far beyond this most basic description. There are legions of health literacy advocates and initiatives; innovative, creative, and culturally attuned resources; a much greater emphasis on empowerment and engagement rather than mere compliance; and a far greater understanding – helped along by research – of the health consequences of low health literacy.

We wouldn’t be able to recount such progress without the hard work of champions like Helen Osborne, who has just released the second edition of Health Literacy from A to Z: Practical Ways to Communicate Your Health Message. Helen joins WIHI on November 17 to discuss how this latest edition can serve as the backbone for any health care organization’s efforts to communicate and engage more effectively with patients of diverse backgrounds and health care fluency.

Also on board for the November 17 WIHI is former IHI Fellow and Iowa patient safety leader, Gail Nielsen, who has been working hard on health literacy for years, with a special emphasis on improving patient/provider partnerships, shared decision making, and care coordination. Together with Lisa Stevens, a quality expert from Illinois focused on cultural competency, Helen and Gail promise to discuss where and how health literacy efforts stand to benefit from health care reform and what it’s going to take to close communication gaps that still remain for millions of Americans.

This is a both an exciting and challenging time to take stock of what’s now possible to ensure and navigate health literacy. WIHI host Madge Kaplan invites you to tune in on November 17 and to share health literacy tools and initiatives from your own organizations. We welcome your interest and participation!  

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