doctor talking to patient

Improving Health Literacy in SC

doctor talking to patient

SCHA and the University of South Carolina team up to improve patient understanding and active participation in their care

The South Carolina Hospital Association is partnering with the University of South Carolina Department of Health Promotion, Education, and Behavior (HPEB) to improve health literacy in our state.

Health literacy, different from general literacy, is a measure of an individual’s ability to process and understand the basic health information and services necessary for them to make the appropriate decisions when it comes to their care. 

“Nationally, only 12 percent of U.S. adults have proficient health literacy. South Carolina has the 13th highest rate of functional illiteracy in the U.S. and poor health literacy rates, placing communities at extremely high risk for poor health outcomes,” says Dr. Daniela Friedman, head of HPEB and the project lead. “This is extremely concerning because health literacy skills are a strong predictor of health status.”

Based on a grant from The Duke Endowment, SCHA and USC will work with a diverse team of academic, clinical, and community partners including adult literacy centers to evaluate patient communication needs across South Carolina through our Health Literacy Initiative. The team will also work to increase awareness of health literacy disparities among staff and care team members and encourage informed and engaged healthcare-related dialogue to improve patient understanding and active participation in their plan of care.

The team is currently looking for South Carolina clinics interested to participate in an effort that will create a uniform tool for all providers to use to assess a patient’s health literacy. If you work for a clinic interested in assisting with this effort, please take the first step by completing and submitting a survey before November 18, 2019. All clinics that do so before the deadline will receive $25 and then $100 following implementation of the AskMe3 program if selected.  Clinics selected will receive at no cost all materials, hands on training, and technical support necessary for successful intervention implementation.

For more information on the Initiative, please contact Cyndi New, Innovation Manager at SCHA, at