personal health literacy (noun): the degree to which individuals have the ability to find, understand, and use information and services to inform health-related decisions and actions for themselves and others
In April 2018, Voices staff visited four different counties – Whitfield, Dougherty, Effingham, and Lamar – to ask residents about the barriers and struggles children who live outside of the Atlanta metro area face accessing quality healthcare. Community members discussed a wide array of barriers and shared their personal stories. Those discussions informed Voices’ report, Barriers to Healthcare for Georgia’s Children, in which Health Literacy was one of the most commonly cited reasons that Georgians struggle with acquiring healthcare.
Families often lack general knowledge about health insurance, available services, and the health needs of their children. Challenges that exacerbate health literacy include problems with communication systems, such as the absence of broadband internet connectivity and reliable cell phone service, as well as low overall literacy, discomfort with healthcare staff and settings, and sometimes perceived staff disinterest.