Rima E. Rudd, ScD, MSP
Potential Conflicts of Interest: None disclosed.
Rudd R.; Low Health Literacy. Ann Intern Med. 2011;155:793-794. doi: 10.7326/0003-4819-155-11-201112060-00018
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Published: Ann Intern Med. 2011;155(11):793-794.
TO THE EDITOR:
Berkman and colleagues' excellent review of health literacy research (1) omitted a consideration of and comment on the underlying assumptions shaping each of the studies under review from the various studies they evaluated. Many health literacy studies offer no theoretical or logical explanation of the link between literacy skills and health outcomes or justification for studying patients' abilities without due attention to the demand side. As the 2004 Institute of Medicine report Health Literacy: A Prescription to End Confusion(2) indicated, literacy results from an interaction between, for example, a reader and a text or a listener and a speaker. We cannot fairly examine a person's reading or listening skills without considering the skills of the writer or the speaker.
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