16 May 2008

Low U.S. medical literacy

It's definitely not Lake Wobegon, "where all the children are above average."

In fact, by definition, half the population is below average -- in anything. Which just goes to show how ridiculously complicated and user-deadly the U.S. healthcare market is. Only about one in ten of us has the skills necessary to successfully negotiate the system and get appropriate care. The only reason we don't know it is because, for the most part, most of us are healthy.

A Medical News Today article cites a study that indicates that just 12 percent of 228 million adult Americans have those skills. The assessment is from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. These skills include weighing the risks and benefits of treatments, being able to calculate health insurance costs, and understanding how to deal with complicated medical forms.

No comments: