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77 Million U.S. Residents Have Difficulty Understanding Basic Health Information


The number of U.S. residents who have difficulty understanding basic health information, according to a report developed by the University of California at San Francisco and San Francisco General Hospital and published by the Institute of Medicine.1 The report also suggests ways to bridge the gaps to understanding, such as how to make this a priority at every level of the health organization, avoid stigmatizing patients over literacy issues, and adopt proven educational techniques such as teach-back (see “Teach-Back,” September 2012).


  1. Brach C, Keller D, Hernandez LM, et al. Ten attributes of health literate health care organizations. Institute of Medicine website. Available at: Accessed Aug. 29, 2012.

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