What is patient empowerment?

Health Literacy and Patient Empowerment


Health literacy is the degree to which people possess the ability to comprehend and make use of health information about their bodies, conditions, and prescribed medical interventions. The concept of health literacy is of paramount importance as patients are beginning to play increasingly participatory roles in their own healthcare. One concern is the varying degrees of health literacy that patients possess. Some patients will have a high degree of health literacy while others only a minimal level. This has important implications as to how health information is presented at the individual as well as the public level.

Select a chronic disease. Find three websites that provide patient information about the condition, its effects, and treatment.

Note: Read articles that are peer-reviewed to establish authenticity of their data.

Use the required readings and other scholarly sources to answer the following questions:

  • What is the chronic disease that you have selected? Explain. Was it difficult to find quality information about it? Why or why not?
  • What, according to you, is the health literacy level for each of the selected websites? Is it low, medium, or high? Explain your rating system for the three literacy levels. What are the factors that contribute to the literacy level for individuals?
  • What attributes make these sites highly effective in clearly communicating the information necessary for understanding the condition, its effects, and treatment? Would you change or add anything?
  • What is patient empowerment? How does it relate to health literacy?
  • What are the issues involved in the patient or provider relationships when promoting patient empowerment?
  • What, according to you, could be the three effective strategies to increase health literacy for specific populations?
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