Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Diagnosis and literacy

Here's another excellent site for diagnosing common diseases. On the other hand, a lot of people aren't all that literate, so for them a doctor could add more value:
A 2006 study by the U.S. Department of Education found that 36 percent of adults have only basic or below-basic skills for dealing with health material. This means that 90 million Americans can understand discharge instructions written only at a fifth-grade level or lower. About 52 percent had intermediate skills: They could figure out what time a medication should be taken if the label says "take two hours after eating," while the remaining 12 percent were deemed proficient because they could search a complex document and find the information necessary to define a medical term.
I found this quote via Arnold Kling, who advises ignoring health insurance and improving literacy to improve health outcomes.

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