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Health literacy can be defined as people’s competencies to access, understand, evaluate and apply information to make health decisions in everyday life. It helps people make healthy decisions at times when the boundaries between work and life are no longer so clear.
When people get sick, they seek the best possible treatments. But how could they know about those treatments if they were not given easy-to-understand information in the first place? Pharmaceutical companies develop countless drugs and devices to help people manage their condition, but only occasionally are the ads presented in a way that educates the patient. By spending more time ensuring that all of their communications are clear to people of all educational levels, pharmaceutical companies can improve health literacy.
Challenges Facing Health Literacy
According to the Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion (Health Communication Activities), more than a third of American adults (77 million people) would struggle with common health tasks, such as following label directions of a prescription drug or adherence to a childhood vaccine. program using a standard table.1
A report presented by the Institute of Medicine suggests that 90 million people, nearly half of the U.S. adult population, lack the health literacy skills necessary to understand and act on health information and demands. of the health system. you are getting from these companies.
The current methods used to market to people with health problems are causing patient education to fall by the wayside. People find actors and models less identifiable compared to real patients. If patients lack the necessary health knowledge to understand the advertisements, the information provided could confuse or misinterpret them.
“ONLY 12% of adults have competent health knowledge“
The US Department of Health and Human Services reported that only 12 percent of adults have proficient health skills. People may miss time-consuming appointments or exams, lack the ability to control conditions, are frequently hospitalized, and face higher health care costs. If patients are not aware of the questions to ask about their medications, in essence how the medication would work or react, they could experience negative results.
Health literacy as a strategic marketing and corporate social responsibility asset
Health literacy can no longer be a challenge if both pharmaceutical companies and healthcare providers take steps to educate their patients. The rapid development of different communication channels has made people seem ubiquitous. This gives healthcare professionals access to a variety of communication channels (social media, blogs, community forums, patient education campaigns, etc.) to get health information out.
While there are many ways for pharmaceutical companies to improve marketing through health literacy, the first step would be to start by writing information that is easily understood.
“Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.”
– Leonardo da Vinci
The use of technical jargon (in this case, industrial medical terminology) can interfere with health literacy because patients cannot understand what the words mean. Pharmaceutical companies must stick to the local language and writing style to ensure that people know what they are doing when using a specific medical device or taking a medicine.
Even the way information is presented can improve understanding. The US Department of Health and Human Services suggests that the text should be in a font of at least 12 points with little to no formatting, such as handwriting or italics.4 Pictures and bullets can be used to space information and add meaning to your text. communication. The facts should be presented in sentences and short phrases so that patients are not overwhelmed when reading a health literature.
Multi-channel marketing has its own challenges. Pamphlets and brochures offer little bursts of information in one place. However, when it comes to websites, most people have a hard time searching for information. If pharmaceutical companies are looking to expand their web presence and invest in various web marketing activities, it would be wise to design sites that are user-friendly. These websites should have clear categories, keep a simple design, and use a variety of media.
Given the explosion of information that is now available to patients, direct-to-consumer advertising is the best bet for pharmaceutical companies. By presenting information in an easy-to-understand way, pharmaceutical companies can increase patient education with its publication.