This recently published article from JAMA highlights the significance and key implications of the growing problem of health literacy. The National Academy of Sciences has also published a series of reports on health literacy and its significance to our efforts to improve the health of various major sub-populations. In order to achieve a healthier society, health literacy must improve in all its dimensions, including print literacy (writing, reading), oral literacy (listening, speaking), and numeracy (calculations, math concepts, and displays). The viewpoint presented in the article also highlights what physicians can do to help lessen the adverse effects of low health literacy, many examples of which can be used in worksite wellness programs.
This document gives good insights into what will continue to be a major concern for all of us. Health and health care literacy, or the lack thereof, will have to be addressed by employers and insurers in the years ahead. Worksite wellness programs provide a natural setting and platform for these kinds of efforts. We believe that this constitutes an important and strategic future role for employer-based wellness efforts.