Health Literacy Missouri

Mike Sherry / Hale Center for Journalism at KCPT


As reformers work on making the U.S. health care system more efficient, they’re also looking to improve communication with consumers – whether it’s ensuring they understand the nuances of insurance or grasping instructions from a doctor.

The concept is known as “health literacy,” and the notion extends beyond the written or spoken word, Dan Reus, a St. Louis business consultant, argued Friday at a health literacy summit in downtown Kansas City, Mo.

People also need to understand the ever-increasing electronic data that make up their medical records, he said.

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.