What is the use of will

Health Literacy - What's the Benefit

The studies that are relevant for Germany suggest that it is difficult for many people to move about independently in the healthcare system. Given the complexity of the health system, a first major difficulty is finding the right access to the care you need in order to receive it. Once this hurdle has been overcome, there are further challenges in understanding and evaluating therapeutic advice or in making appropriate individual decisions on prevention and health promotion as well as treatment and care measures.

Numerous studies clearly show that health status and health literacy are closely related and that poor health literacy can have negative effects and consequences for the individual and society. As a rule, people with higher health literacy assess their subjective health status better and also behave in a more health-promoting manner. In contrast, poor health literacy is more often associated with riskier behavior. Diseases are often diagnosed later in people with low health literacy. also

  • they take up prevention offers and early diagnosis examinations less often,
  • have poor physical and mental health,
  • see a doctor much more often,
  • have a higher chance of being admitted to hospital as an inpatient,
  • as patients often show a lack of adherence to therapy (compliance / adherence)
  • and poor self-management on and
  • have an increased risk of death.

In short, poor health literacy makes it difficult for people to take good care of their health. This also has consequences for the health care system: International studies show that low health literacy can result in high additional health costs. The WHO estimates that the proportion of health expenditure that can be attributed to inadequate health literacy amounts to three to five percent of total expenditure. For Germany alone, this means around ten to 17 billion euros annually.

Inadequate health literacy does not only have an impact on one's own health and costs. Studies also confirm that the level of health literacy is a greater predictor of one's own state of health (i.e. it has a better predictive power for future health developments) than educational level, socio-economic status, gender or ethnic origin. In view of an increasingly complex health system and a constantly growing, hardly manageable amount of available health information and offers, the best possible health literacy is an elementary prerequisite for shaping and maintaining one's own health.


To the overview of health literacy