September 30, 2014 — Blog Post
The 5th Annual Health Literacy Month Blog Series
Welcome to our 5th Annual Health Literacy Month series on Engaging the Patient!
This year, we’ll start by looking at how health literacy plays a role in too much or too little treatment. Even for clinicians, it’s challenging to sift through the latest evidence and arguments about when screening tests should be done, and what treatments should be considered for which patients. And the media coverage often conflates and confuses these issues even more. So where does that leave the rest of us?
This month, we’ve invited Gary Schwitzer of HealthNews Review, Shannon Brownlee, author of Overtreated, Becca Rothschild of the Choosing Wisely® campaign, and others to share their insights on how information is made available to the public, how it affects what are often life-changing treatment decisions, and how we can do a better job of helping people understand and navigate this mire of information and opinions.
After all, while we hope treatments will improve length of life, we also need to make sure people don’t expect that without also thinking about their quality of life like one of the biggest factors is pain.
Do we know how to describe and talk about pain so we can get the best treatment? Is the pain scale helpful or confusing? And what are the other challenges as people deal with chronic pain, pain from cancer and cancer treatments as well as the challenges of understanding pain medication?
And, while these perspectives are valuable, we know no one campaign, blog series or story will address or solve these challenges. So please join the conversation — comment, ask questions, or share your story.
Read more about the origins of the nationally celebrated month here.