Health Literacy: A Brief Primer for the Otolaryngologist

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Health literacy has been shown to affect outcomes in a number of medical conditions. Despite the complexity of care that is often required among otolaryngology patients, the literature on health literacy in this field is sparse. Otolaryngologists need to be aware of issues related to health literacy due to the changing health care environment. The increased complexity of medical care, the greater involvement of patients in shared decision making, and the higher administrative burden on patients have increased their health literacy requirements. Assessing health literacy in clinical practice may help identify patients who might require additional help in navigating the health care system. The Brief Health Literacy Screen and the Newest Vital Sign are 2 measures that are easy to apply in clinical practice.

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