Health literacy

Social media influencers (SMI) are a growing advertising market, returning nearly six dollars for every dollar invested – a return on investment of 5.78. These SMI are the next step in direct-to-consumer (DTC) marketing. A new study looks at the patient influencers in healthcare.
How physicians communicate with their peers and their patients has come under more scrutiny of late. Patient access to “open” notes has raised concern about physicians using hurtful terms. A new paper considers the problem of physicians communicating with their patients unconsciously using jargon that obstructs rather than facilitates understanding.
Health literacy, or understanding the medical narrative, is a problem for a majority of Americans. When compounded with numeric literacy, understanding numbers, ratios and rates -- the daily litany that has accompanied COVID-19 news conferences -- it's estimated that 8 out of 10 Americans just don’t get it. 
For all the regulation of what's written in direct-to-consumer health ads (and for all the hand-wringing about informed consent), there's little said about what patients understand. As it turns out, health literacy is a problem. And those with the biggest problems are looking for help in all the wrong places.