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Health Numeracy: Helping Patients Understand Numeric Concepts (HLOL #38)

by | May 25, 2010

Andrea J. Apter, MD, MA, MSc is a practicing physician and Professor of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. Her specialty is treating patients diagnosed with asthma. Before she was a doctor, Apter was a math teacher who worked with students from 6th grade on.

Both as a doctor and as a teacher, Apter knows the challenges of communicating numeric concepts in health education. To help, she along with collaborators, have proposed a model to make this task easier for all.

In this podcast, Dr. Apter talks with Helen Osborne about:

  • Why numeracy matters in healthcare and preventive medicine.
  • Strategies to improve understanding that givers and receivers of health information can use today.
  • Thoughts about long-term solutions & need for health numeracy research.

More ways to learn:

  • Apter AJ et al (2008), “Numeracy and Communication with Patients: They Are Counting on Us,” Journal of General Internal Medicine 23(12):2117-24.
  • Apter AJ et al (2009), “Linking numeracy and asthma-related quality of life,” Patient Education and Counseling 75: 386-391.
  • Apter AJ et al (2006), “Asthma Numeracy Skill and Health Literacy,” Journal of Asthma, 43:705-710.
  • Golbeck AL, Ahlers-Schmidt CR, Paschal AM, and Dismuke SE (2005), “A Definition and Operational Framework for Health Numeracy,” American Journal of Preventative Medicine 29(4):375-376.
  • Osborne H, (2007) “In Other Words…Health Numeracy: How Do Patients Handle the Concept of Quantity When It Relates to Their Health?” On Call Magazine, http://www.healthliteracy.com/article.asp?PageID=6509
  • Osborne H, (2004) “In Other Words…Working With Numbers,” On Call Magazinehttp://www.healthliteracy.com/article.asp?PageID=3745
  • Osborne H, (2004) Health Literacy from A to Z: Practical Ways to Communicate Your Health Message. Sudbury, MA: Jones & Bartlett. http://www.jblearning.com/catalog/0763745502

Health Literacy from A to Z: Practical Ways to Communicate Your Health Message, Second Edition (Updated 2018), by Helen Osborne. Relevant chapters include: 6, 21, 26.

Read a transcript of this podcast. 

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