- Nearly half of all adults have difficulty understanding and using health information.
- Far more people look for health information online than see a doctor on a typical day.
- On popular search engines, only one link in five leads to relevant health information.
- Nothing – not age, income, employment status, education level, or racial and ethnic background – affects health status more than literacy skills.
- Costs related to higher rates of hospitalization and higher use of expensive emergency services by lower literate patients represent between 7% and 17% of all personal healthcare expenditures.
- The savings that could be achieved by improving health literacy – a lower bound of $106 billion and an upper bound of $238 billion – translate into enough funds to insure every one of the 47 million persons who lacked coverage in the U.S. in 2006.
- Patients with inadequate health literacy are diagnosed with cancer at a later stage.
- Populations most likely to suffer from low health literacy include those age 65 and over, minorities, immigrant populations, and Medicare/Medicaid recipients.
- Forty-six percent of American adults cannot understand the label on their prescription medicine.