Making health information crystal clear
Health literacy – a person’s ability to read and understand basic health information – is an important issue that is frequently overlooked. Health literacy means more than just reading information as it involves taking part in the decision making process and understanding your options.
According to the International Adult Literacy Survey (IALS) conducted by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) in 1997, over 50% of the Irish population are affected in some way by literacy difficulties.
Research shows people with literacy difficulties find it difficult to read and understand many health related items such as health information leaflets, appointment cards, signage, directions on medicine packs and medical advice. As a result many people may not feel capable of making important decisions that will impact on their health.
For this reason, The Crystal Clear MSD Health Literacy Awards are a very welcome addition to health literacy in Ireland. The awards are designed to recognise and reward the pursuit of clarity in health literacy across education, training, research and health.
This year the first prize in the category ‘Consumer Health Media Award’ was awarded to Dr. Ciara Kelly, a GP at Greystones Medical Centre for her article ‘Proximity is no substitute for survival’. Her winning article, published in the Sunday Independent in May, 2008, explains the rationale of centralised cancer care to the public, an issue which has caused much confusion.
You can read details of the other shortlisted entries in this year’s competition on the The Crystal Clear MSD Health Literacy Awards website: www.crystalclearawards.ie/
Read Dr Ciara Kelly’s winning article ‘Proximity is no substitute for survival’ here
Also check out Literacy levels boost chances of recovery from illness