Breaking down barriers to health information: an analysis of the relationship between health literacy, health equity, and patient-provider communication
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AbstractThis thesis examines the relationship between health literacy and patient-provider communication and how improvements in both help mitigate health disparities. A literature review was completed to examine (1) health literacy concepts, (2) health literacy disparities among minorities, individuals with low socioeconomic status (SES), the elderly, and those with communication disorders, and (3) health literacy interventions that focus on patient-provider communication. Improving the communication quality in health care may help address the overall low health literacy skills of people in the United States. Some approaches to improve patient-provider communication include using plain language, multimodal communication, a communication book, and the teach back method. As experts in communication, speech-language pathologists are in a unique position to help health care providers improve health literacy and communication quality. Improving communication quality is especially crucial considering the negative health outcomes that are associated with low health literacy.
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