Organizational health literacy is the degree to which organizations equitably enable individuals to find, understand, and use information and services to inform health-related decisions and actions. Improving health literacy has been a growing concern in the United States, with an estimated 80 million adults in the United States having limited or low health literacy .
While health literacy may be seen as a public health or provider concern, it is also an issue that employers can help address due to their role in providing access to healthcare. There is a huge opportunity for employers to champion health literacy within the workplace to improve health outcomes and lower healthcare spending.
Here’s what to know about the importance of improving organizational health literacy and how LetsGetChecked's at-home healthcare solutions can help.
The cost of low health literacy
Low health literacy is a key source of economic inefficiency in the U.S. healthcare system. According to the Center for Health Care Strategies, the annual cost of low health literacy to the U.S. economy is estimated at $238 billion . Limited health literacy negatively impacts an individual’s ability to make informed decisions about their health and navigate medical services, leading to inefficient healthcare choices.
Compared to individuals with proficient health literacy, those with limited health literacy have higher healthcare costs as they have a higher likelihood of hospitalization, with more inpatient and emergency department visits. Additionally, those with lower healthcare literacy are less likely to engage in preventive care, leading to greater healthcare use later on. Improving health literacy can produce significant cost savings, with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimating that improving health literacy can prevent nearly one million hospital visits and save the U.S. healthcare system over $25 billion a year .
The role of employers in improving health literacy
Employers play an important role in helping their employees manage their health, offering access to healthcare coverage and well-being programs. As employees spend more time at work than almost anywhere else, employers have an opportunity to improve the health literacy of their workforce. Health literacy affects employees’ productivity, attendance, and the company’s bottom line. Helping employees better understand their health enables them to identify risks and seek preventive care to improve health outcomes and lower healthcare costs.
Some strategies employers can use to improve health literacy include meeting employees where they are and making preventive care easy to understand and accessible. Health and engaging in healthcare is a personal experience that can be difficult to navigate. Providing employees with at-home healthcare solutions can help them overcome barriers to care, enabling them to experience a comfortable, efficient, and positive patient experience.
How LetsGetChecked can help
Health literacy is an important aspect of employee healthcare with an enormous potential impact on the lives of employees and an organization’s bottom lines. LetsGetChecked’s at-home solutions can meet your employees wherever they call home, empowering them with accessible and easy-to-understand health information to make better healthcare decisions. Our clinical team will support your employees every step of the way, explaining results, answering questions, and making their healthcare journey as smooth as possible. By partnering with us, we can help you protect and optimize your investment in healthcare benefits.