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Health Literacy Resources

Resources for Becoming an Empowered Patient

The following resources can help you better manage your health and healthcare by providing guidance on communicating with and understanding your healthcare provider, keeping track of your medication, and establishing and maintaining your personal health information. By reviewing these resources or bringing them along to your medical appointment, you can take charge of your personal health information. Links to outside organizations and agencies do not represent endorsement by AHIMA.

Just Think App! Mobile Health Apps 101: A Primer for Consumers


The federal Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality’s website can direct you to a quality healthcare provider, help keep track of your medication, and make sure that you’re receiving the safest possible care.

From AHRQ: Build Your Question List
Are you visiting your health care clinician or pharmacist? It is important to be prepared. Create a personalized list of questions that you can take with you.

From AHRQ: Healthcare 411
Healthcare 411 is an audio podcast series produced by AHRQ. Using the latest technology, AHRQ shares news and information in the form of concise 60-second audio news programs that feature current research on important health care topics. Healthcare 411 gives consumers information they can use in their health care decision making.

From AHRQ: 5 Steps for Safer Healthcare
This fact sheet tells what you can do to get safer health care. It was developed by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services in partnership with the American Hospital Association and the American Medical Association.

From AHRQ: 20 Tips to Prevent Medical Errors
Government agencies, purchasers of group health care, and health care providers are working together to make the U.S. health care system safer for patients and the public. This fact sheet tells what you can do.

From AHRQ: 20 Tips to Prevent Medical Errors in Children
Medical errors are one of the Nation’s leading causes of death and injury. Rates of medication errors and adverse drug events for hospitalized children were comparable to rates for hospitalized adults in a 2001 study in the Journal of the American Medical Association. This fact sheet is intended to help parents help their children avoid medical errors.

From AHRQ: Be Prepared for Medical Appointments
Improving health care quality is a team effort. You can improve your care and the care of your loved ones by taking an active role in your health care. Ask questions. Understand your condition. Evaluate your options.

From AHRQ: Quick Tips When Getting Medical Tests
The single most important way you can stay healthy is to be an active member of your own health care team. One way to get high-quality health care is to find and use information and take an active role in all of the decisions made about your care. This information will help you when making decisions about medical tests.

From AHRQ: Quick Checks for Quality
“Quick Checks for Quality” summarizes the major ways you can check for quality in health care. The information in it is based on research about the information people want and need when making decisions about health plans, doctors, treatments, hospitals, and long-term care.

From AHRQ: How to Create a Pill Card
This guide was designed to help users create an easy-to-use “pill card” for patients, parents, or anyone who has a hard time keeping track of their medicines. Step-by-step instructions, sample clip art, and suggestions for design and use will help to customize a reminder card.

Prescription Drug Safety Resources
The Center for Improving Medication Management & the National Council on Patient Information and Education offer tips on medication safety, especially for children and teens. Printable worksheets help patients take accurate notes before, during, and after doctor visits.

Be Med Wise Quiz
Know your medicine! The National Council on Patient Information and Education’s Med Wise Quiz tests your knowledge of over-the-counter and prescription drug labels.

Drug Digest Interaction Checker
Is it safe to take a supplement with your diabetes medication? Why should you take ibuprofen with food? Check interactions for the 5,000 different medications in Drug Digest’s database.

Deciphering Medspeak – Medical Library Association
To make informed health decisions, you have probably read a newspaper or magazine article, tuned into a radio or television program, or searched the Internet to find answers to health questions. If so, you have probably encountered “medspeak,” the specialized language of health professionals.
The Medical Library Association developed “Deciphering Medspeak” to help translate common “medspeak” terms.

Speak Up campaign brochures
The Joint Commission’s “Speak Up” program urges patients to take a role in preventing health care errors by becoming active, involved and informed participants on the health care team. These brochures remind patients how to prevent errors, know their rights, and plan for long-term care – all by beginning a conversation with their doctor.

Pathways to Empowerment
The Center for Patient Partnerships features a comprehensive list of frequently asked questions regarding choosing a doctor, coordinating care, or preparing for appointments. If your question is not answered, you may submit one for inclusion.

Informed Consent
How does your permission affect your medical care? A safeguard to ensure that you stay up to date with your own treatment, informed consent recognizes your need to know about a procedure, surgery, or treatment, before you decide to have it. Find out which questions to ask before a procedure at the American Cancer Society’s website.

Compare Hospitals – The Leapfrog Group
The Leapfrog Group’s database contains information on 1,206 hospitals and their quality of care, safety, and affordability. Compare hospitals side by side, either by overall safety or by safety of selected procedures.

Learnaboutrxsafety.org: Medicine Safety – A Toolkit For Families
Did you know most Americans fail to ask questions about their medicines, and half don’t use their medicines as prescribed? Protect your family and get the most from your medication through the information in this toolkit.

Stop Germs
Did you know that over 30,000 people in the US die from the flu every year? Learn what you can do to stop the spread of disease by touring the interactive home and discovering where bacteria and viruses are hiding.