According to the National Assessment of Adult Literacy, only 12 percent of adults in the U.S. have proficient health literacy. In terms of numbers, that is nine out of ten adults who lack the skills needed to manage their health and prevent disease. Low literacy has been linked to poor health outcomes such as higher rates of hospitalization and less frequent use of preventive services, which leads to higher healthcare costs. This is especially troubling for individuals over the age of 65 because they have low health literacy, live on a fixed budget and Medicare doesn’t pay for all the costs.
Factoring future health care expenses into one’s retirement plan allows for a more realistic assessment of one’s cash flow needs after retirement and, as a consequence, a more realistic assessment of the savings needed. Better planning and health literacy to meet health expenses are as important as financial literacy.
Some decisions that patients need to make on a periodic basis that requires proficient health literacy are:
- Choice of health plan based on what works best for each individual
- Desired physician/provider based on quality of care rather than distance of care
- Predetermined costs so the exact liability is factored in
The Center for Healthcare Strategies, Inc. (CHCS) states that the individuals are not solely responsible for increasing their health literacy. Health care organizations must also be accountable too to reduce the demands placed on individuals. If healthcare organizations can increase health literacy over the lifecycle of a patient, they can help them make better decisions thus improving their quality of care.
Through 80's and 90's, financial services firms focused on educating consumers about credit, retirement (401k), mortgages and loans. This resulted in increased financial literacy and allowed consumers to make better financial choices. Health literacy can also be achieved by transparency, experiential programs and by providing information to address consumer biases.
How can organizations do this? A starting point would be to use a robust data-ops platform to collect data from varied sources like social media sites, CMS, devices or enterprise data. These data sets can be merged to form physician clusters based on parameters like physician ratings, the cost of care or volume of services. By using appropriate analytical tools, only physicians with high quality of care can be chosen and shown to patients. This not only makes the healthcare organization engage with patients better but also helps patients manage their health better because they can choose physicians who align with their needs and expectations.
There are many advantages of using a digital platform. Learn more about how Sagitec’s DataOps platform, HealHub™ can help you improve patient engagement and health literacy.
About Sagitec Solutions
Sagitec Solutions, LLC designs and delivers tailor-made pension, provident fund, unemployment insurance, and healthcare and life sciences software solutions to clients of all sizes. Understanding that a dynamic world requires dynamic technology, Sagitec offers solutions that are highly configurable and extensible by nature. With deep industry experience in software implementation and systems integration, project management, consulting, hosting and software support, Sagitec is a partner clients can trust to deliver mission-critical IT projects. They are headquartered in Saint Paul, Minnesota. Learn more by visiting http://www.Sagitec.com or by contacting Rick Deshler at (651) 335-3406 or at Rick.Deshler@Sagitec.com.