Patient Focus: CardioSmart Corner

CardioSource WorldNews | Health Literacy: How to Best Communicate with Patients

Health literacy is the ability of patients to obtain, process, and understand the health information needed in order to make appropriate decisions about their health. Low health literacy is most common among older patients, minority populations, those of low-socioeconomic status, and other medically underserved populations. Patients with low healthy literacy may have difficulty understanding certain medical language, filling out forms, understanding the connection between risky behaviors and health problems, seeking preventative health care, managing chronic conditions, and understanding medication directions.

It is important for health care professionals to be able to identify the health literacy levels of their patients and modify their communications with that patient when necessary. Health care providers can help by using simple language and defining technical terms, providing supplementary materials, repeating important information and offering assistance in completing forms.

Health Literacy Month, which takes place every October, promotes the importance of understandable health information. Health literacy is a priority of CardioSmart, which helps medical practices reach patient populations through regular infographics, CardioSmart TV programming in waiting rooms, and dedicated online resources to cardiovascular diseases and treatments. For more information on becoming a CardioSmart Practice, go to

Just ‘Google’ It

A Google search for heart conditions will now prominently display important questions patients should ask their doctor based on clinical guidelines developed by the ACC.

The ACC teamed up with Google to create a list of essential questions that patients should ask their doctors about conditions like heart attack, coronary artery disease, hypertension, high cholesterol, and AF through a new “Ask a Doctor” feature that appears within Google Health Knowledge Graphs, the in-depth search result that appears for health related conditions. Knowledge graphs will also include a link to The basic information is not intended to provide medical advice, but it can help educate people on what questions to ask their doctor.

“This is a unique opportunity to marry the broad reach and power of Google’s Internet search engine with the clinical and scientific expertise of the ACC,” said ACC Chief Innovation Officer John Rumsfeld, MD, PhD, FACC. “This project makes it easier for the public to get accurate answers to health and medical care questions, and will aid in promoting engagement between patients and their clinicians.”

Read the full October issue of CardioSource WorldNews at

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