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What is Health Literacy in Chiropractic and Natural Heath Care?

Updated: 7 days ago

patients watching a presentation by a chiropractor

The more people know about health, the more they will help others be healthier.

I just ran across a "study" entitled "The Relationship Between Health Literacy and Medical Costs. *"

Their findings:

  • Patients with lower health literacy had higher hospitalization rates compared to those with higher health literacy.

What does this mean? Let's look at how Health Literacy is defined:

  • "Health literacy is the ability to obtain, process, and understand basic health information and services to make appropriate health decisions." (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services) (HHS)

So, how is this working out for us in the U.S.?

  • The U.S. ranks last in a comparison of 11 high-income countries in terms of general health. This is despite the U.S. spending the most on healthcare compared to these nations.*

health care system performance rankings comparison

So, it can be reasoned that Americans aren't getting much information on health care. Our people are fatter, sicker, and more depressed. Our kid's health is getting worse.*


However, as the above study illustrates, there is a direct connection between educated patients and better health.

We already know this from experience in practice. I just thought it was interesting that there was a study showing this fact: better educated patients are healthier. They also refer more people for care.

Here are 3 approaches to improved patient education, though there are many others:

  1. Inform while you perform. Educate your patients each day about some aspect of health care. This is also called Table Talk.

  2. Care Class. It used to be common procedure in practice building to have regular new classes for patients. Not only were they educational, but entertaining. They built community. They also increased patient referrals, patient retention, and improved the motivation of those giving the talks. They cost next to nothing, except for the doctor's and staff member's time. In some offices, refreshments were added. In one chiropractic clinic I worked with would award attendees with clinic t-shirts and provide great pizza and had a full class!

  3. Newsletter with a case study. When your patients are not in the office, send them a short note. Maybe add a video. Doesn't have to be professional, just authentic and describe a successful case or some health tip that they can use.

I think that because we work and live in a health profession that we take health knowledge for granted. And it can be easy to assume people know what you know.

They don't.

There is a chasm between what you know about health and what your patients know.

How full would your schedule be if your patients, and their family and friends, knew what you knew about how to stay healthier?

Health literacy is a term from the medical world that has obviously failed to bring about health literacy.

No surprise there.

But in your corner of the world, you can change this and increase true health literacy with all your patients. And help more people.

Seize the future,



* American Journal of Public Health, 1998. Baker, D.W., Parker, R.M., Williams, M.V., Clark, W.S.,



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