David A. Nardone, MD
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Nardone D.; The Crucial Link between Literacy and Health. Ann Intern Med. 2004;141:81. doi: 10.7326/0003-4819-141-1-200407060-00031
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Published: Ann Intern Med. 2004;141(1):81.
TO THE EDITOR:
I read the article by Jennifer Fisher Wilson on the link between literacy and health (1) with interest and found it very useful. I offer 4 complementary strategies that physicians can use to offset problems with patient literacy.
First, encourage patients to bring a family member or advocate to the visit. Advocates can facilitate dialogue and thereby understanding between patients and physicians. In my 35 years of clinical practice, rarely has a patient objected to the presence of a third party.
Second, devote a segment of each visit to reviewing the patient's active medication list. I have found that discrepancies between patients' lists and mine are very common. Routine reviews also empower patients to ask their physicians “why,” “how,” and “what” questions.
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Print ISSN: 0003-4819 | Online ISSN: 1539-3704
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