Health literacy is a concept that describes a patient’s ability to understand materials provided by physicians or other providers. Several factors, including education level, income, and age, can influence health literacy. Research conducted at one medical practice in Florida indicated that in spite of the patients’ relatively low education level, the majority indicated a broad acceptance of personal health record (PHR) technology. The key variable explaining patient willingness to adopt a PHR was the patient’s health literacy as measured by the eHealth Literacy Scale (eHEALS).
As recognition of the health information management field grows in the public sphere through wider understanding of the importance health information plays in everyday medical care, examining the roles HIM practitioners may play in relation to the general public served by our healthcare system is timely and important.