Health literacy, as defined by the American Medical Association, is ‘the ability to obtain, process and understand basic health information and services needed to make appropriate health decisions and follow instructions for treatment.’
According to the UM press release, of the journalists surveyed, only 18 percent had specialized training in health reporting and only 6.4 percent reported that a majority of their readers change health behaviors based on the information they provide. The journalists had an average of 18 years of journalism experience and seven years experience as health journalists.
Journalists reported quoting medical experts, avoiding technical terms, and providing data and statistics, as the three most important elements to making health information understandable.
According to the survey, a majority of journalists reported believing that their readers understand information from medical professionals, but are not proficient with scientific information and more prone to believe health myths. The results suggest that newspaper journalists view their roles as information providers, while magazine journalists perceive themselves more as advocates for behavioral change.Tags: CDH, CDH+PR, Healthcare+PR, Medical+PR