Integrating Health Literacy in Health Communication
Introduction The public today is exposed to more health information than at any previous time in human history. Health care professionals provide advice, television and radio programs broadcast stories about health and well-being, the Internet delivers nearly unlimited information on numerous health topics, and patients manage communication with their physicians via clinic and hospital Web portals. Exposure to such health information has the potential to assist individuals in managing their health; however, such information may be ineff ective, or even counterproductive, if an individual is unable to access, understand, or apply the information. The fi eld of health communication is well situated to play a crucial role in closing the gap in health literacy via development of carefully and creatively crafted messages, interventions, and communication techniques. To do so, communication scholars fi rst must understand the defi nition, measurement, prevalence, and consequences of low health literacy.