Health literacy level among US adults is pathetic. Almost half of American adults don't understand health information such as dosage and timing of prescription medicine, according to researchers. The researchers have also suggested healthcare professionals should use plain language, not professional jargon and ensure a patient understands directions.

Researchers at the University of Missouri School Of Health Professions in Columbia, Mo., comment failure to understand prescription directions can lead to serious consequences, including health setbacks, inappropriate hospital admissions and even death.

Diane Smith and four occupational therapy graduate students conducted a pilot study focusing on the health literacy environment of two healthcare facilities - a rehabilitation facility and an independent senior-living facility.

At the rehabilitation facility, healthcare professionals rarely asked patients if instructions were clear, and oral communication problems worsen if other languages are used and no translator is available.