People want health information to be presented more simply and would welcome different approaches to help them take care of their own health, a survey of patients in several countries has found.

The public’s health literacy levels could be a major barrier to the progression of self care concluded a ‘Knowledge for Health Survey’, produced by healthcare company RB for Self Care Week (14 to 20 November). 

Medical information could be presented in more user-friendly formats, respondents said.

In the survey, half of people wanted to see information made simpler and more concise; 42 per cent want fewer medical terms used in patient information; 30 per cent would prefer more visual information, with pictures and diagrams, and 20 per cent of 18 to 24 year-olds wanted to access health information online as video.

Of the 3,000 people, questioned in the UK, Germany and USA, 20 per cent said they hardly ever or never found it easy to understand the information on a medicine packet or leaflet.

A large proportion – 89 per cent – agreed that people should take more responsibility for their own health, and two-thirds agreed that more medicines for common conditions should be made available over-the-counter without a prescription, said RB.



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