Javed Butler, MD, MPH
A story in yesterdayâ€™s edition of the Washington Post claims that many Americans have poor health literacy. The Post cited a 2006 study by the U.S. Department of Education that found that 36 percent of adults have only basic or below-basic skills for dealing with health material. According to the report, this means about 90 million Americans can understand discharge instructions written only at a fifth-grade level or lower.
Emory Healthcare heart transplant cardiologist, Javed Butler, MD, MPH, was included in yesterday’s Post article citing his experience with patients who have health literacy issues. “When we say ‘diet,’ we mean ‘food,’ but patients think we mean going on a diet,” said Butler. “And when we say ‘exercise,’ we may mean ‘walking,’ but patients think we mean ‘going to the gym.’ At every step there’s a potential for misunderstanding.”
Butler, a professor of medicine at the Emory School of Medicine and director of Heart Failure Research for Emory Healthcare is studying this issue and its impact on patients with heart failure. He recently reported some of his findings Nov. 17 at the American Heart Association Scientific Sessions conference in Chicago.
To read the entire Washington Post story, please click here.
Kenneth Thorpe, PhD
Researchers and medical experts will be meeting Wednesday morning, Jan. 12 in Washington, DC, at a symposium on “Medical Innovation at the Crossroads: Choosing the Path Ahead.” Emory Universityâ€™s Kenneth Thorpe, PhD, chair of the Department of Health Policy & Management, Rollins School of Public Health, and other health care experts, commentators and journalists, will discuss the most effective federal policy strategies for U.S. medical innovation aimed at job creation, economic recovery and health security.
The symposium is sponsored by the Council for American Medical Innovation.
For more information, view the council’s recent video on medical innovation.
Not long ago, polio, a crippling and dreaded disease, seemed unstoppable. But thanks to innovative medical research, the disease met its match in a vaccine developed in the early 1950s by American scientists. Today America and the world still face diseases that cripple and kill.Â But with ongoing innovations in medicine and science, diseases such as diabetes and HIV/AIDs may one day meet their match, too.
On a related note, Thorpe, who regularly blogs for the Huffington Post, has written a new article, “Medical Advancements: Who Is Leading the World?”