American Medical Association Foundation "Health Literacy manual"
"Implications of limited literacy
"A limited ability to read and understand information translates into poor health outcomes. Most clinicians are surprised to learn that literacy is the single best predictor of health status. In fact, all of the studies that have investigated the issue report that literacy skills are a stronger predictor of an individual’s health status than age, income, employment status, education level, and racial or ethnic group. 6,7,12,13
"Literacy and health knowledge Patients with limited literacy skills have less awareness of preventive health measures and less knowledge of their medical conditions and self-care instructions than their more literate
counterparts. This knowledge deficit has been shown for a variety of health conditions, ranging from childhood fever to asthma to hypertension. Persons with limited literacy skills also exhibit less healthy behaviors (Table
Most Non communicable diseases require patient and family input and this is recognized in NHS Wales Diabetes in their use of Patient Knows Best for all patients with diabetes: Wales diabetes | Patients Know Best
"Starting in June 2017, people with diabetes in Wales aged between 16 to 24 will be able to register for a Patients Know Best (PKB) record. The world’s only fully patient-controlled online medical records system,
PKB will be working across seven health boards and within every clinical team providing young adult care services in Wales.
The primary focus of the project is to provide better, more consistent services to patients going through big changes in their lives – improving clinical outcomes as a result.
Dr Julia Platts, national clinical lead for diabetes in Wales said:
“We know that young people may can become disengaged with their diabetes care teams when they’re approaching adulthood. This is because these years are often a time of great change – as they are for any young person. It’s a very particular time where we need to provide very particular services. We believe that a patient-controlled records approach will empower young people to monitor and manage their health in a more sophisticated way – and to ensure that their long term health outcomes are improved.”
The roll-out of patient-controlled records by NHS Wales also seeks to facilitate better relationships between young people with diabetes patients, their carers and the health and social care providers serving them across Wales.
Diabetes and other Non Communicable diseases according to the WHO ;
-Noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) kill 41 million people each year, equivalent to 71% of all deaths globally.
-Each year, 15 million people die from a NCD between the ages of 30 and 69 years; over 85% of these "premature" deaths occur in low- and middle-income countries.
-Cardiovascular diseases account for most NCD deaths, or 17.9 million people annually, followed by cancers (9.0 million), respiratory diseases (3.9million), and diabetes (1.6 million).
- These 4 groups of diseases account for over 80% of all premature NCD deaths.
- Tobacco use, physical inactivity, the harmful use of alcohol and unhealthy diets all increase the risk of dying from a NCD.
- Detection, screening and treatment of NCDs, as well as palliative care, are key components of the response to NCDs.
These diseases are driven by forces that include rapid unplanned urbanization, globalization of unhealthy lifestyles and population ageing. Unhealthy diets and a lack of physical activity may show up in people as raised blood pressure, increased blood glucose, elevated blood lipids and obesity. These are called metabolic risk factors that can lead to cardiovascular disease, the leading NCD in terms of premature deaths.
Risk factors Modifiable behavioural risk factors
HIFA profile: Richard Fitton is a retired family doctor - GP, British Medical Association. Professional interests: Health literacy, patient partnership of trust and implementation of healthcare with professionals, family and public involvement in the prevention of modern lifestyle diseases, patients using access to professional records to overcome confidentiality barriers to care, patients as part of the policing of the use of their patient data
Email address: richardpeterfitton7 AT gmail.com