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Health literacy in e-oncology care: challenges and strategies

01/21/2022
by   Hajar Hasannejadasl, et al.
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Given the impact of health literacy (HL) on patients outcomes, limited health literacy (LHL) is a major barrier in cancer care globally. HL refers to the degree in which an individual is able to acquire, process and comprehend information in a way to be actively involved in their health decisions. Previous research found that almost half of the population in developed countries have difficulties in understanding health related information. With the gradual shift toward the shared decision making (SDM) process and digital transformation in oncology, the need for dealing with low HL issues is more crucial. Decision making in oncology is often accompanied by considerable consequences on patients lives, which requires patients to understand complex information and be able to compare treatment methods by considering their own values. How health information is perceived by patients is influenced by various factors including patients characteristics and the way information is presented to patients. Based on the findings, identifying patients with low HL and using simple data visualizations are the best practice to help patients and clinicians in dealing with LHL. Furthermore, preparing reliable sources of information in tools such as patient decision aids (PDA), as well as involving HL mediators in consultation sessions supports patients to make sense of complex information.

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