KCUR News
10:52 am
Thu June 3, 2010

Statewide Initiative Looks To Improve Health Literacy

Kansas City, Mo. – About 1.6 million Missourians struggle to understand information about their health. As a result, area health leaders are launching a new initiative to improve health literacy across the state.

The nonprofit group, Health Literacy Missouri, is leading the project. Arthur Culbert is the group's president and says misunderstandings about health care are far too common.

"How many times have you seen a doctor and you walk out and it's like, 'I'm not really sure what he said,'" Culbert says.

Culbert says such miscommunications can be really serious and lead to medical errors. He says the new initiative will coordinate with area hospitals, doctors, schools and even libraries, to make the region's health care system more user-friendly. The project will also focus on how to make area health information easier to understand.

Culbert says the efforts are part of a national push to improve health literacy. Last week, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services outlined its' first-ever action plan regarding the issue.

State and local health leaders are gathering at the Liberty Memorial this morning as part of a three-day statewide kickoff of the initiative.

Funding for health care coverage on KCUR has been provided by the Health Care Foundation of Greater Kansas City.

Download recent health stories or subscribe to the KCUR Health Podcast.

Find out what's going on in and around Kansas City, follow @KCURnews on Twitter or become a KCUR fan on Facebook.