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Nurses Must Be Involved in Patient Health Literacy Support

Nurse Talking with Senior Patient Provider

The American Academy of Nursing (AAN) is urging nurses to advance patient health education and health literacy as part of its yearly policy brief. Literacy involves patients understanding and using terminology and concepts to become more engaged in their own health. AAN has found that only 12 percent of adult patients have at least proficient health literacy. Moreover, patients with poor health literacy have poorer health, as per Health and Human Services Administration (HHS) statistics. Plus, those with poor health literacy are less likely to use patient engagement tools and technologies. AAN is urging that nurses emphasize health literacy with every patient during every healthcare encounter. They recommend use of a universal standard for assessing patient literacy, and to assume all patients are at risk of not understanding health information or technology. The AAN will work with the Join Commission to establish best practices within an organization. For now, AAN wants nurses to bridge the gap between patient skills/abilities and the complexity of the health system through a universal precautions approach. Read more at the Patient Engagement HIT website article.