Editorial. The health illiteracy problem in the USA. The Lancet 2009;9707 (374):2028
Health illiteracy is the inability to comprehend and use medical information, affecting access to and use of health-care systems. Most individuals with low health literacy are elderly people, poor people and minorities. They are more prone to visit emergency rooms, stay longer in hospitals and use fewer preventive services, with consequent high costs for the health-care systems. A reliable US national health literacy measurement tool is not available at the moment but it should be developed and assessed.