December 7, 2012

Call for Blogs on Healthcare Literacy Part 2

Yes, I did promise this. Here goes – I need help! I am looking for people to help on a blog project. Since we do not have a National Health Literacy Day, maybe we should support Helen Osborne and her health literacy month of October. I am not concerned if we call it health literacy month or healthcare literacy month. Both seem applicable and appropriate. Maybe there could be a World Health Literacy Day within the month of October.

In addition, since this is December 2012 and we have until October 2013 (actually September 2013) to get topics ready and pick a few topics for the month for blogs. For people in the Diabetes Online Community (DOC), we will want to emphasize diabetes literacy. Now for the more complicated part, if you like this, I could use help contacting other people with chronic diseases to bring them into this, and expand this to all bloggers throughout the world. This is how important I feel this could be. In addition, people could blog in their own language. This would make this usable to more people as not everyone reads English.

Each disease could have their part to contribute to health literacy month. No, I am not suggesting a blog every day, but maybe one blog per week on some facet of health literacy. This would mean approximately four blogs from each blogger for the month. Picking the different topics within health literacy is also an area I will accept help as I am not the most organized when it comes to this.

I had hoped to have correspondence from Helen Osborne by now, but I have heard that she will not be available until late December. I am hoping for some answers and guidance at this time. I will still put some of my ideas out to see if there is support for any of this.

A few of the topics that I have thought about include:
1. Working with knowledgeable doctors in each disease to have community meetings to discuss terms common to a disease and give the meaning in terms everyone can understand. Even if this were only in the month of October would be a good start.
2. Find community organizations that exist and have them put on a meeting and invite a doctor specializing in that disease. Example: There is an organization that meets monthly in my community on Parkinson's disease.
3. Contact town or city officials and find out if there are any groups they are aware of that are meeting some of the needs of people with literacy problems. Literacy problems will also be health literacy problems.
4. Contact the local YM or YWCA (if your community has one) and see if they work with literacy problems.
5. Consider establishing a health literacy group and recruiting people to assist people that are willing to accept assistance when meeting with doctors, so that you may explain things to them that they may not understand.
6. Study literacy and health literacy discussions on the Internet. Example: The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) site has some useful information available and is one of 12 agencies under the Health and Human Services (HHS) department that works for improving healthcare. They do publish an excellent brochure about safe medicine use. I picked up my copy at my local pharmacy. There are other websites and some excellent blogs about health literacy.

I am open to most any suggestion either in the comments area or by email – see my profile page. Another source of information is this website.

Helen Osborne has several other websites and this is one of them. The Institute of Medicine has an excellent article on health literacy and I have written about some of the topics that health literacy can have an effect on patients, here and here.

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