Cover of Toward Health Equity and Patient-Centeredness

Toward Health Equity and Patient-Centeredness

Integrating Health Literacy, Disparities Reduction, and Quality Improvement: Workshop Summary

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Washington (DC): National Academies Press (US); .
ISBN-13: 978-0-309-12749-3ISBN-10: 0-309-12749-1
Copyright © 2009, National Academy of Sciences.


The United States has experienced vast demographic changes, especially in the last generation; new populations have emerged as immigrants disperse across the country and form new communities in different states. Such demographic shifts affect health care in a variety of dramatic ways, particularly in the way health care is delivered. With more diverse cultures and languages, health care providers now must tailor the health care they provide to individuals to ensure that care is equitable and patient-centered. Delivering equitable health care and focusing on the individual has incidentally elevated health care disparities and health literacy as major health care topics. Providers are beginning to use tools to improve care delivery in these areas, such as providing patients with appropriate medication instructions in their primary language and offering translation services—tools that could lead to vast improvements in the care patients receive. Quality improvement, with a focus on reducing health care disparities and enhancing health literacy, is vital to assuring better health for the nation now and for future populations.