Accurate communication in medicine is crucial: miscommunication can lead to minor confusion and even serious health consequences. It is also crucial to develop reliable communication strategies, because patients are assuming a more active role in caring for their own health. How can physicians and health plans effectively engage with patients and encourage health literacy, with the goal of improving outcomes in chronic conditions? Dr. Ruth Parker, professor of medicine at the Emory University School of Medicine, and epidemiologist at the Emory University School of Public Health, and Dr. Matthew Wynia, director of the Institute for Ethics at the American Medical Association, acknowledge some of the barriers to effective communications in medicine, and suggest ways to advance health literacy. Dr. William Anderson hosts.