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Briefing Date:07/15/2004
Topic:Health Literacy: A Prescription to End Confusion

The National Academies
Institute of Medicine
Board on Neuroscience and Behavioral Health
Committee on Health Literacy

*****

Briefing
Thursday, July 15, 2004
HC-7, The Capitol -- 1:30 p.m.

on

Health Literacy: A Prescription to End Confusion

Health literacy is the ability of individuals to process and understand the basic health information and services they need to make appropriate health decisions. A comprehensive review of the science and practice surrounding health literacy in the United States, Health Literacy: A Prescription to End Confusion, finds that nearly half of all American adults - 90 million people - have limited health literacy. Health literacy affects the health of Americans and the ability of the health care system to provide effective, high-quality health care. The report makes recommendations and identifies key roles for the Department of Health and Human Services as well as other public and private sector organizations to foster research, guide policy development, and stimulate the development of health literacy knowledge, measures, and approaches.

This briefing was open to members of Congress, congressional staff, executive branch staff, press, and others interested in the topic. The report was publicly released on April 8, 2004 and is available, in its entirety, on the Web site of the National Academies Press.

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