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Awareness of Risk Factors and Medical Histories Are Key to Good Health Primary care physicians encourage patients to play a more active role in their health care. Dayton, OH (I- Newswire) June 13, 2012 - Health literacy impacts all aspects of a person's health care and is defined by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services as the degree to which individuals are able to obtain and understand the information and services needed to make appropriate decisions regarding their health care. From the ability to understand a physician's directions, consent forms and dosage instructions and knowing what questions to ask, to being able to communicate symptoms and health concerns accurately and effectively, health literacy impacts a person's health care in a variety of ways. Health literacy is essential to maintaining a healthy lifestyle, managing chronic conditions and preventing potential health issues from developing. "Thorough communication of conditions and symptoms during routine check- ups is a big part of health literacy as it not only improves the patient's understanding of health care, but also lets doctors know of any risk factors we need to pursue with our patients to make sure we get them on the right track," said Dr. Roberta Kern of Educare Family Medicine. "Even if a person seems to be healthy at age 30 or 40, there could be an underlying issue, like cholesterol, that we can't diagnose until we do a more in- depth exam or screening." Dr. Kern encourages patients to share specifics related to their family's medical history, including the age in which a family member was diagnosed with a particular condition. "For example, if a patient has a family history of heart attacks or colon cancer, we would likely recommend screening for those types of conditions earlier than normal," said Kern. In addition to communicating health concerns to their physician, individuals need to be able to understand the medical information presented by their health care provider. According to the Department of Health and Human Services, nearly nine out of 10 adult Americans find it difficult to use everyday health information. What's more, individuals with low health literacy are more likely to skip preventive care measures, such as flu shots and mammograms. Now, more than ever, patients have the opportunity to play a more active role in their health care. Many organizations offer free literature and tools that individuals can use to help them make decisions about their health care. For example, the Premier HealthNet website,, provides resources that help patients make sense of medical information, know the right questions to ask and the important information to share with their physicians. "The type of care provided to patients is always changing, depending upon lifestyle factors and other health- related information they share with their physician," said Dr. Kern. "I love working with motivated patients who want me to help them manage their health care and will take the necessary steps to be healthy and improve their health literacy."

Additional Resources About Premier HealthNet: Premier HealthNet (PHN) is the largest group of primary care practices in the Miami Valley. PHN has offices located throughout southwest Ohio. PHN is part of Premier Health Partners, which includes Miami Valley Hospital, Good Samaritan Hospital, Atrium Medical Center and Upper Valley Medical Center. Company Contact Information: Premier HealthNet Mindy Nemon, Marketing Coordinator 40 West 4th Street #1700, Dayton, OH 45402 Phone: (937) 208-7000 Published in: Medical Tags: Health Literacy    Heart attacks    educare family medicine     Published on: June 13, 2012 Original Source: Awareness of Risk Factors and Medical Histories Are Key to Good Health

Awareness of Risk Factors and Medical Histories Are Key to Good Health