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I (now) know that I know nothing

Patients with limited health literacy can be motivated to learn about their disease once they notice it will lead to better control over their health.
Three people holding a book, and a fourth carrying a pile of books
The perceived need for patients to acquire more knowledge about their condition might influence the extent to which patients actively seek knowledge themselves.” – A statement in relation to knowledge acquisition for patients with limited health literacy from the systematic review by Jager et al. (2019).

In other terms, it can be understood that patients can be motivated to look for information by themselves about their disease, once they realise that reducing their gap in knowledge about it means that they can gain control over the decisions regarding their health, which can be empowering.

This sounds really nice, but let’s pause for a second and reflect on:

  • What are the challenges here for patients with limited health literacy?
  • How could this be addressed from a Universal Precautions approach?
  • How could this be addressed from a Person-centred approach?

Leave a comment with your thoughts and give feedback to another comment about what you think of the challenges and solutions others propose. Are the challenges the same as those you thought about? Are the solutions to those problems something you could also apply within your context?


Jager, M., de Zeeuw, J., Tullius, J., Papa, R., Giammarchi, C., Whittal, A., & de Winter, A. F. (2019). Patient Perspectives to Inform a Health Literacy Educational Program: A Systematic Review and Thematic Synthesis of Qualitative Studies. International journal of environmental research and public health, 16(21), 4300.

© IMPACCT consortium
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Working with Patients with Limited Health Literacy

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