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Healthcare content1 min read Health Literacy Month: Why it matters to healthcare marketers

It's Health Literacy Month. Is your content easy to read?

September 28, 2020Karen Craddock, Senior Editor

October means cooler temps, kids in funny and frightening costumes, plentiful pumpkins—and Health Literacy Month!

OK, so that last item might make you shrug your shoulders and say, "Really?" But Health Literacy Month is an important annual event for anyone who communicates with consumers—including healthcare marketers.

Why health literacy is important

Health Literacy Month was started in 1999. The goal then—and now—is to make health information easy to understand. And that can be a big challenge. More than 90 million adults in the U.S. are believed to have low health literacy, according to the National Institutes of Health. That means they may struggle to:

  • Understand health-related information.
  • Make decisions about their healthcare.
  • Manage any chronic diseases.
  • Embrace a healthy lifestyle.

As a result, adults with low health literacy tend to be hospitalized more often and to have poorer health overall.

How does your healthcare content hold up?

Although people with low health literacy may have the most difficult time understanding health information, it's important to know that even people with advanced literacy skills can feel overwhelmed with complex medical topics and terms—especially when they or a loved one are diagnosed with a serious disease.

That's why all of your content—whether it's digital, direct mail, a podcast or some other format—should be written in plain language that users can understand the first time they read it or hear it.

As you make plans to carve some pumpkins this month, consider also carving out some time to think about Health Literacy Month—and how you might improve your healthcare content so it is more approachable to everyone in your community.

3 resources for more health literacy information

  1. Quick Guide to Health Literacy
  2. Health literacy tips: Why reading levels matter
  3. What is Health Literacy Month?