So what does the phrase “Say, ah” have to do with health literacy? Well, according to the folks at non-profit Say Ah!, it’s related to “Open your mouth and say ‘Ah’” and “Ah, I understand now.”
I love the phrase, all big and bold on their home page: “Medicine is getting better every day, but dealing with it is getting harder.” How true!
Say Ah! is all about helping people understand health and healthcare issues. In other words, the Say Ah! folks seek to improve health literacy because they know that health literacy is “a stronger predictor of a person’s health than age, income, employment status, education level, and race.“
What exactly is health literacy? Simply put, it’s someone’s ability to understand and act on health and medical issues.
Here in the U.S., the sad truth is that only 12% of adults are considered to have “proficient” health literacy. That means that almost 9 of every 10 adult Americans aren’t fully able to understand and deal with their health issues. (Kids’ health literacy is likely even lower.) Considering that poor health literacy costs us about 269 BILLION DOLLARS each year, changing this could have a huge impact on our country’s economic health as well as our personal health.
The folks at Say Ah! have some great resources for helping people improve their basic health understanding. Check out their “Tips For You” and “Health Literacy” areas. Doctors, nurses, and other healthcare providers should check out their “Tips For Providers” section. Providers, and their office staff, can have a huge impact on helping consumers understand medical information.
Improving our health literacy, and helping others to do the same, helps us all. If we can understand and discuss health issues effectively, we improve our health and lower our healthcare costs. So, open up and say, “Ah.” (I promise I won’t use the tongue blade!)
Posted – April 5, 2012