Course: Risk Management Focus: Low Health Literacy
Author: Rosemary Gafner and James Schutte
AMA PRA Category 1 credits: 2
Estimated Hours to Complete Course: 1.50
Estimated Minutes to Complete Test: 30
Course Release Date: 7/1/2013
Course Expiration Date: 12/31/2021
Caring for patients with low health literacy.

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Risk Management Focus
Low Health Literacy


“Low health literacy” is frequently an underlying factor that amplifies and compounds communication problems between physicians and patients. As such, even when matched with caregivers who are fully fluent in their language and culture, many patients still lack the reading proficiency, background knowledge, and comprehension ability to fully participate in their own health care. This problem affects mainstream English-speaking patients as well, and is widely under-recognized by doctors, who are rarely aware of the fact that many of their patients aren’t able to understand even basic written instructions. Fortunately, most of the skills needed to address low health literacy issues are the same skills that will allow you to overcome many communication issues with patients.


Upon completion of this course, a physician should be able to:

1.  Recognize signs of low health literacy.
2.  Take steps to ensure all patients understand the physician’s instructions and treatment plan.

Target Audience
This course is designed for physicians who want concise information on how to help patients understand their medical conditions and treatment options.


This is a self-study course consisting of text and CME test.  Physicians should read the course content, answer the test questions and submit the answers for scoring.  Those who complete the course with a score of 80 percent or higher will earn a maximum of 2 AMA PRA Category 1 creditsTM.


This course was developed by Rosemary Gafner, Ed.D. and James E. Schutte, Ph.D.  Their CVs are available at

CME Information

Medical Risk Management, Inc. is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education to provide continuing education for physicians.  Medical Risk Management, Inc. designates this enduring material for a maximum of 2 AMA PRA Category 1 creditsTM.  Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity.


Commercial Support

This activity was developed solely by Medical Risk Management, Inc. without any commercial support.


Neither Dr. Gafner nor Dr. Schutte have anything to disclose.

Please check with your insurance carrier for approved courses before registering.  Courses not approved by your insurance carrier will not be accepted by them for any discounts they may offer.