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August 11, 1999

Health Literacy and the JAMA Patient Page

Author Affiliations

Margaret A.WinkerMD, Deputy EditorIndividualAuthorPhil B.FontanarosaMD, Interim CoeditorIndividualAuthor

JAMA. 1999;282(6):525-527. doi:10-1001/pubs.JAMA-ISSN-0098-7484-282-6-jbk0811

To the Editor: The Health Literacy Report of the Council on Scientific Affairs1 makes the important point that communication with patients is facilitated when clinicians tailor health information to patients' literacy and comprehension levels. The report also notes that the National Adult Literacy Survey from the US Department of Education found that nearly half of American adults have low-level reading skills.2 In fact, the mean reading level of US adults is at grade 8, and the mean reading level of Medicaid enrollees is at grade 5.3