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What if I cannot choose wisely? Addressing suboptimal health literacy in our patients to reduce over‐diagnosis and overtreatment

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The Choosing Wisely initiative aims to reduce wasteful and harmful healthcare by encouraging clinicians and patients to discuss explicitly the healthcare that is really needed as well as that which is of low or no value. While low health literacy has been found to be associated with under‐diagnosis and under‐treatment, its potential role as a driver of over‐diagnosis and overtreatment has received less attention. This article describes how low health literacy might lead to too much medicine. It then provides an overview of an evidence‐based method of communication that might assist with identifying and addressing low health literacy in patients.
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Keywords: health literacy; low value healthcare; over‐diagnosis; over‐treatment; teach back

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: September 1, 2018

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