Literacy and Health Outcomes - Article Review Essay Example

Published: 2022-04-04
Literacy and Health Outcomes - Article Review Essay Example
Type of paper:  Article review
Categories:  Healthcare
Pages: 4
Wordcount: 1100 words
10 min read

Health literacy is one crucial factor that is vital to every individual because it enables one to interpret health information and data. The basic definition of this term is the ability is the capability to read, understand and interpret readings in the healthcare environment. This aspect is crucial because, having the ability to understand such makes one aware of all facets that correlate to health issues, medication, treatment and other general issues on health. Such awareness is also beneficial to the health care providers when administering any help to individuals. "Literacy and health outcomes" has given informative findings on the relation of health literacy and its application in the health environment as well as useful interventions that should be used on individuals with low literacy.

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The article starts by breaking down all concepts that relate to literacy and health outcomes and the methods that were used to research on these facets. They include the relationship between literacy skills and health care services, cost of health care, health outcomes, and disparities used in health outcomes on race, culture, and age. The other question of address in the article is how a person with low literacy skills can be helped with the use of interventions. Together with other researchers, Berkman uses various criterions to research on this topic including searching for articles in different databases to gather enough evidence about literacy and health outcomes. After doing thorough research, Berkman finds out that only 73 of the 3015 collected articles is useful and relate to the topic of interest. According to the author, are various methods are used to "measure" the level of one`s literacy. One is WRAT (Wide Range Achievement Test), the other one is REALM (Rapid Estimate of Adult Literacy in Medicine) and TOFHLA (Test of Functional Health Literacy in Adults). The same methods are the same ones used in the articles that the author examines to produce factual findings.

The author gives lays out information based on his research the availability of low literacy persons. From all the articles reviewed, most papers had incorporated a study of between 34 and 3260 persons. From the data provided literacy levels are grouped or linked together with disease prevention interventions. Individuals with low literacy levels were bound to produce higher health risks than those who did not. For example, breast and cervical cancer screening rates showed that women had the highest possibility of not having undergone any Pap Smear for two years. Another sub-topic of discussion by the author is health outcomes. The author states that there a clear connection between literacy skills and the understanding of health issues like asthma, smoking or contraception. Persons with low literacy skills, profoundly indulge in these behaviors than those who are not. The other point of discussion is the cost of health care about literacy skills, and it was found out that this aspect has nothing to do with costs and neither does it affect it. Also, the author has talked about disparities in health outcomes claiming that particular individual, e.g., the blacks would present level four stage cancer than the whites who would choose to see a doctor.

After doing thorough research, the author has then focused on the recommendations to use in helping those individuals with low literacy skills. Using the various measuring instruments, the authors gathered enough information and data defining literacy levels. Most people fell in level 3 or 4. By using an intervention that had a 12-minute video, brochure, coaching tool and video, individuals suffering from low literacy admitted an improvement after being subjected to this content. The primary focus of administering interventions is to improve knowledge which then enhances literacy (Berkman, 2004). One review was conducted where a polio vaccine pamphlet was designed was those who had literacy issues understand concepts better. Another problem that was not tackled by the authors is the cost of healthcare under interventions. This was the same case with disparities in health outcomes. However, from the author's findings, it would be more effectual if advanced and expounded materials are used to research at the same topic. Most of the shortcomings of this method include poor descriptions of interventions, lack of stratification by interventional studies and interventions have similar concepts.

The article has laid out all facts and findings of the importance of literacy skills in the environment. This work has been organized in a systematic manner where the authors have first identified the questions to discuss throughout the whole paper and further broken them down for easy understanding. This model of giving information is useful because one can grasp and understand better on the topic of discussion. The other step is the explanation of the research method where the authors have quoted the use of articles "beginning with a yield of 3015 articles..." This step is then followed by the findings which are then related to both literacy and administration of interventions. The use of figurative features all throughout the paper helps the reader to do an actual assessment which is more convincing (Berkman, 2004). Finally, the authors then conclude by stating the adjustments they will make in future in case they conduct such research. This approach is helpful to the reader because he or she can know that the results of the analysis were not 100 percent correct.

The mode of writing and expression that has been used in this article is entirely understandable with no reason for one not to comprehend all that is entailed in it. The authors have used some aspects that predict persuasiveness like repetition. The topic of discussion, as well as the motive of this article, has been highly achieved. This article is an excellent example of informative material. Health and literacy are vital issues that need to be addressed. The report has laid out how the same can be recognized, analyzed and also given recommendations on how it can be solved. This factor makes it an informative piece.

In a nutshell, the author has accomplished his purpose by using fact findings which have been drawn from actual experiments that were conducted by other writers. Using real information is more efficient than using assumptions. The style and arrangement of the work have also been a pivotal contributor to purpose accomplishment. The study is important and relevant in health communication because a physician will well relate to a patient when offering medical help. Having a patient who understands basic concepts enhances the speed of service delivery.


Berkman, N. D., DeWalt, D. A., Pignone, M. P., Sheridan, S. L., Lohr, K. N., Lux, L., ... & Bonito, A. J. (2004). Literacy and health outcomes. Evidence report/technology assessment, 87, 1-8.

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