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earlier training of healthcare providers can result in the provider’s ability to decrease the gap in patient understanding earlier in the patient-provider communication process. Supporting and empowering the patient through healthcare providers’ open and thorough communicative strategies can thus promote higher levels of health literacy among U.S. citizens. The urgency of the human rights violation of limited health literacy in the United States is undeniable. Efforts to stem the rise of this “silent epidemic” have grown slowly over the past two decades in the United States, but have failed to decrease the associated poor health outcomes across America. The best way for the US government and healthcare providers to stem this epidemic is to pass legislation that specifically addresses health literacy and increases governmental accountability and the fostering of partnerships with educational programs, the government can begin to take realistic steps in raising awareness of health literacy as an issue central to the American public. By promoting educational programs for both healthcare providers and patients, healthcare providers can help foster a strong sense of support for this agenda. Focusing on the patient-provider communication by utilizing the teach-back method and national communication standards set by the AHRQ will provide the direct support and empowerment patients with low health literacy require from their healthcare providers. The U.S. government and healthcare providers can prioritize the improvement of health literacy on a large scale, addressing the ninety million citizens that are affected by limited health literacy. Using these strategies, the US will be able to make its first strides in addressing limited health literacy.

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References [1] U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. “National Action Plan to Improve Health Literacy.” (2010): n. pag. Web. [2 ] Clark, Brietta. “Using Law to Fight a Silent Epidemic: The Role of Healthy Literacy in Health Care Access, Quality & Cost.” Annals of Health Law 20.2 (2011): n. pag. Web. [3] Center for Health care Strategies, Inc. “What Is Health Literacy?” Center for Health Care Strategies Fact Sheets (2013): n. pag. Web. [4] United Nations Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. “International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.” United Nations Human Rights Office of the High Commissioner. N.p., n.d. Web. [5] United Nations. “The Universal Declaration of Human Rights.” United Nations. N.p., n.d. Web. [6] United Nations Human Rights Committee. “International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.” United Nations Human Rights Office of the High Commissioner. N.p., n.d. Web. [7] United States. Cong. Senate. Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions. National Health Literacy Act of 2007. By Norm Coleman. 110th Cong., 2424 sess. S. Bill. N.p.: n.p., 2007. Print. [8] “Policy Legislation.” Health & Literacy Special Collection: Tools and Resources for Health Literacy Initiatives. World Education, n.d. Web. [9] Somers, Stephen A., and Roopa Mahadevan. “Health Literacy Implications of the Affordable Care Act.” Centers for Health Strategies, Inc. (2010): n. pag. Web. [10] The Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion. “National Action Plan to Improve Health Literacy.” Health Literacy and Communication. N.p., n.d. Web. [11] “Plain Language: It’s the Law.” Plain Writing Act of 2010. Improving Communication from the Federal Government to the Public, n.d. Web. [12] Nouri, Sarah S., and Rima E. Rudd. “Health Literacy in the “Oral Exchange”: An Important Element of Patient–Provider Communication.” Patient Education and Counseling 98.5 (2015): n. pag. Web. [13] “Questions to Ask Your Doctor.” Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, n.d. Web.



Science in Society Review - Spring 2016  
Science in Society Review - Spring 2016