The Importance of Health Literacy and Understanding Medical Jargon 

Health literacy refers to an individual’s ability to understand and use health information to make informed decisions about their health. It encompasses a wide range of skills, including the ability to read and understand medical terminology and jargon. Understanding medical language is important because it enables patients to communicate effectively with their healthcare providers and make informed decisions about their health. 


Medical terminology and jargon can be overwhelming and confusing, even for those with a strong educational background. Many medical terms are derived from Latin or Greek, making them unfamiliar to most people. Additionally, medical language is often complex and technical, making it difficult to understand without specialized training. 


Patients who do not understand medical terminology and jargon may have difficulty communicating with their healthcare providers. This can lead to misunderstandings and miscommunication, which can have serious consequences for the patient’s health. For example, a patient who does not understand the difference between a diagnosis and a treatment may not fully understand their medical condition and the options available to them. 


To improve health literacy and understanding of medical terminology, patients can take several steps. One important step is to ask questions. Patients should not be afraid to ask their healthcare provider to explain medical terms and concepts in plain language. Healthcare providers can also help by avoiding medical jargon and using clear and simple language when communicating with patients. 


Patients can also take advantage of resources that are available to them. Many healthcare organizations offer patient education materials that are written in plain language and explain medical terms and concepts in a way that is easy to understand. Patients can also use online resources, such as medical dictionaries and patient education websites, to learn more about medical terminology and jargon. 


Another important step in improving health literacy is to become an active participant in healthcare decision-making. Patients should be involved in discussions about their health and should ask questions about the risks and benefits of different treatments. This can help patients make informed decisions about their health and can lead to better outcomes. 


Health literacy is an important issue for individuals, healthcare providers, and society as a whole. Improving health literacy can help patients take a more active role in their healthcare, leading to better health outcomes and lower healthcare costs. It can also improve communication between patients and healthcare providers, leading to more effective and efficient care. 


In conclusion, understanding medical terminology and jargon is an important aspect of health literacy. Patients who do not understand medical language may have difficulty communicating with their healthcare providers and making informed decisions about their health. To improve health literacy, patients can ask questions, use resources, and become active participants in healthcare decision-making. By improving health literacy, we can improve health outcomes and promote better communication between patients and healthcare providers. 

About The Author

Dr. Leo is a highly-qualified and dedicated primary care physician who graduated from Manila Central University College of Medicine in 2018. He passed the Physician Licensure Exam in 2019, and has since gained valuable experience practicing in various settings such as being a company physician, doctor-on-duty for outpatient clinics, and a telemedicine practitioner. 


What sets Dr. Leo apart is his dual-certification as both a physician and a registered nurse, having passed the Philippine Nurse Licensure exam in 2012. He has a unique perspective on healthcare as he believes in taking a holistic approach addressing the root cause of an issue rather than just treating symptoms. He is dedicated to finding long-term solutions for current disorders and preventing new ones. 

Experience EVA Teleconsult