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J Health Commun. 2014;19 Suppl 2:10-4. doi: 10.1080/10810730.2014.950548.

Don't blame patients, engage them: transforming health systems to address health literacy.

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a Patient Care Program, Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation , Palo Alto , California , USA.


The passage of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act is affirming a new era for health care delivery in the United States, with an increased focus on patient engagement. The field of health literacy has important contributions to make, and there are opportunities to achieve much more synergy between these seemingly different perspectives. Systems need to be designed in a user-centered way that is responsive to patients at all levels of health literacy. Similarly, strategies are needed to ensure that patients are supported to become engaged, at the level they desire, instead of the status quo, in which patients are rarely actively empowered and encouraged to engage in health care decisions, where preferences are rarely elicited, and where there is a lack of interest in how their life circumstances shape their priorities.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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