Author Tackles Healthcare Literacy Problem Addressed in December 2007 Edition of the Healthcare 411 Web-Based News Series.

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Dr. Ruthann Russo's new book addresses the health literacy issues as described by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.

Carolyn Clancy, MD, AHRQ Director, discussed concerns about the lack of health literacy in the US during the December 2007 "Healthcare 411" web-based news series. Dr. Clancy defined health literacy as "how well people understand and can evaluate information about their health and about health care options to make good decisions." Dr. Clancy also went on to describe how limited health literacy can harm your health. A big part of being able to evaluate your health care options is understanding how to navigate our sometimes complex healthcare system. In her book, 7 Steps to Your Best Possible Healthcare (, author Dr. Ruthann Russo has provided a comprehensive, easy-to-read resource to help all health care consumers learn how to better navigate the healthcare system and take control of their healthcare.

The Healthcare 411 newscast described the importance of good communication with your physician. In her book, Dr. Russo provides lists of questions you may want to ask your physician during the visit. She also suggests that you write the questions down and bring along a pad of paper and pen to record your physician's responses. Physicians are often rushed in the time they have to spend with you, so if you organize the visit around your concerns, you are more likely to get a good result. Dr. Russo also provides resources and suggestions for other circumstances the typical healthcare consumer may either not be aware of or may not be prepared to address. These include:

•creating a healthcare vision and plan for you and your family
•selecting and working with your healthcare team
•obtaining a second opinion and what to do with conflicting points of view
•partnering with your health plan for the best results
•how to obtain and read your medical records
•understanding your rights and responsibilities as a patient
•how to use the Web and other resources to find high quality healthcare
•evaluating complimentary and alternative medicine possibilities
•understanding different medical and surgical specialties
•learning basic medical terminology to communicate better with physicians

Dr. Russo has written 5 books used by managers in the healthcare industry. Hospitals throughout the country use her training programs to assist their physicians and clinicians in providing quality care to their patients.

The book presents a different approach to healthcare. Millions of Americans are searching for answers to their best possible healthcare. The book includes numerous 'real-life' examples that demonstrate how you can take control of your healthcare by being an informed consumer. 7 Steps to Your Best Possible Healthcare is currently available at

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