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Perspectives on Safety > Perspective
with commentary by Michael S. Wolf, PhD, MPH; Stacy Cooper Bailey, MPH, Health Literacy and Safety, February-March 2009
Clear health communication is increasingly recognized as essential for promoting patient safety. Yet according to a recent Joint Commission report, What Did the Doctor Say? Improving Health Literacy to Protect Patient Safety, communication problems among health care providers, patients, and families are common and a leading root cause of adverse outcomes. Addressing health literacy—the capacity of individuals to obtain, process, and understand basic health information and services needed to make appropriate health decisions—has become a primary objective for many health systems in order to protect patients from harm.