Health literacy in New York is defined as an individual's ability to interpret and follow health care instructions and information. A study now shows that people with the lowest health literacy levels are the most likely to make medication errors after they are discharged from a hospital. Common errors include failure to have a prescription filled and failure to continue taking the medication as recommended by the health care professional.
There are also cases of misunderstandings that have the potential to compromise a patient's health. This includes patients taking medications without understanding the purpose, frequency or proper dosage of the medication. There is a growing belief in the medical community that identifying the people most likely to make errors and providing them with more support may work to minimize the risk of medication errors.