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Medical News and Perspectives
May 12, 2004

Low Health Literacy Called a Major Problem

JAMA. 2004;291(18):2181-2182. doi:10.1001/jama.291.18.2181

Two major reports conclude that nearly half the adults in the United States have trouble interpreting medical information, thus jeopardizing their health and inflating costs while complicating the work of health professionals, conclude two major reports.

Consent forms, prescription drug directions, and oral instructions to patients are often communicated in language more complex than the average comprehension level of US adults, conclude both studies, one from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) and the second from the Institute of Medicine (IOM).

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