Health Literacy The Missing Link in Patient-Physician Communication

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Do you know?. Which of the following is the strongest predictors of an individual\'s health status?A) AgeB) IncomeC) Literacy skillsD) Education level E) Racial or ethnic groupF) Average Beer Intake at Metro. Do you know?. Which of the following is the strongest predictors of an individual\'s h
Health Literacy The Missing Link in Patient-Physician Commu...

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1. Health Literacy The Missing Link in Patient-Physician Communication AMA-MSS Subcommittee on Health Literacy Community Service Committee

2. Do you know? Which of the following is the strongest predictors of an individual?s health status? A) Age B) Income C) Literacy skills D) Education level E) Racial or ethnic group F) Average Beer Intake at Metro

3. Do you know? Which of the following is the strongest predictors of an individual?s health status? A) Age B) Income C) Literacy skills D) Education level E) Racial or ethnic group F) Average Beer Intake at Metro

4. The Problem: Low Health Literacy

5. Definitions Illiteracy: total inability to read and write Functional Illiteracy: ability to only read/write/understand below 5th grade level Marginal Literacy: ability to only read/write/understand between the 5th and 8th grade level Literacy: ability to read/write/understand at the 8th grade level and above

6. Health Literacy The ability to read, understand, and use healthcare information to make effective healthcare decisions and follow instructions for treatment

7. ?? half of our adult population has deficiencies in reading or computational skills.? (AMA Council on Scientific Affairs, JAMA 1999) Do your patients understand what you are telling them?

8. Basic information about a colonoscopy, as perceived by a patient with limited literacy skills

9. Scope of the Problem 22% of adult Americans are functionally illiterate; an additional 27.5% are marginally literate Therefore, nearly half of American adults (90 million patients) do not have sufficient literacy skills to fully function in society All segments of the population are affected

10. Percent of physicians who know about Health Literacy: 33% Percent of physicians who make changes in patient communications after learning about health literacy: 66%

11. Education as an Unreliable Indicator of Literacy Level Number of years of education not equal to amount learned 24% of Functionally Illiterate (NALS Level 1) people actually completed high school

12. Health People 2010 Focus Areas Access to Quality Health Services* Arthritis, Osteoporosis, and Chronic Back Conditions Cancer Chronic Kidney Disease Diabetes Disability and Secondary Conditions Educational and Community-Based Programs Environmental Health* Family Planning Food Safety HEALTH COMMUNICATION Heart Disease and Stroke HIV Immunization and Infectious Diseases*

13. National Adult Literacy Survey (NALS) Provides the most comprehensive view of general literacy skills of American adults (1992) 5 Levels

14. Summary of NALS Levels Level 1: Functionally Illiterate CANNOT: use bus schedule, find intersection on map read a simple story to a child fill out social security application Level 2: Marginally Literate CANNOT: use bus schedule read a bar graph write a letter of complaint Level 3 & 4: Functionally Literate Level 5: High-Level Literacy

15. Results of the NALS Level 1: 22% Level 2: 27.5% Level 3: 31.5% Level 4: 16% Level 5: 3%

16. Increased costs of low literacy Average annual cost of all Medicaid enrollees: $3,000 Average annual cost of low literacy enrollees: $13,000

17. Sources of Increased Costs Low literacy patients have: more medication errors excess hospitalizations longer hospital stays more E.D. visits generally higher level of illness RESULT: An excess cost of $50-73 billion per year to the US healthcare system

18. Limited Literacy in Healthcare Setting Trouble understanding: when next appt was scheduled medical vocabulary (bowel, polyp, colon, etc.) basic disease concepts how to use medical devices (asthma inhaler)

19. Low Literacy translates into poor health outcomes Health Knowledge Deficits: Diabetic patients less likely to know symptoms of hypoglycemia Patients with low literacy are less likely to maintain tight control of their diabetes Less healthy behaviors: more smoking, including during pregnancy more exposure to violence less breastfeeding

20. High Risk Groups Elderly People with limited education Ethnic Minorities (Hispanic, AA) Recent Immigrants to the US People born in the US but English is a second language Low income

21. Red Flags Behaviors registration forms incomplete or inaccurate frequently missed appointments noncompliance with medication lack of follow-through with tests or referrals eyes wandering over a page very slow to finish sounding out words looking confused

22. Responses ?I forgot my glasses? ?Let me take this home so I can discuss it with my children?

23. Can you expect your patient to tell you? Shame and Stigma 68% have never told their spouse 75% have never told their healthcare provider 19% have never told anyone may bring decoy reading materials 66-75% of adults in NALS Level 1 say they read ?well? or ?very well? 33.6% of low literacy patients do not admit to having reading trouble

24. Overview of Implications Poor Health Outcomes Over-utilization of health services Limited effectiveness of treatment Higher patient dissatisfaction Higher provider frustration

25. How can you find out? Do social history first in patient evaluation, adding questions about literacy skills in a sensitive manner ?How happy are you with the way you read?? ?What do you like to read?? Ask questions in a safe and supportive environment and in a neutral, nonjudgmental fashion Brown-bag medication review ?When was the last time you took one of these pills?? ?When was the time before that?? Do they read the label or look at the pill?

26. Remember... Not stupid All social classes Amazingly able to function The majority of people with low literacy skills are white, native-born Americans Health providers should not have racial/ ethnic bias


28. What can we do? Make your practice patient-friendly Communicating in an easy-to-understand language Creating and using patient-friendly written materials

29. What can we do? Make your practice patient-friendly Attitude of helpfulness from clinicians and staff Help with office check-in and scheduling appointments Repeat important instructions

30. Communicating in an easy-to-understand language 6 Steps to improve communication with patients slow down use plain, non-medical language limit the amount of information provided, and repeat it show or draw pictures use teach-back or show-me technique create a shame-free environment

31. Use plain, non-medical ?living room? language

32. Creating and using patient-friendly written materials Written consent forms/ patient education handouts most forms written 10th grade to graduate level average US adult reads at 8th grade level

33. 2. Principles for creating patient-friendly written materials 5th or 6th grade level clear statements of instruction avoid unnecessary background info avoid lengthy review of anatomy or physiology short sentences large text

36. Non-written patient education materials Graphic Illustrations - pictures - pictographs Models Audiotapes and compact disks Videotapes

37. Patient Empowerment 3 Important Questions: What is my main problem? What do I need to do? How do I take my medicine? When do I need to be seen again? Why is it important for me to do this? These questions can help patients take their medications properly and take care of their health.

38. PowerPoint prepared by: Anupama Kathiresan, Jeremiah Johnson, David Newton Medical College of Georgia Augusta, GA AMA-MSS Health Literacy Subcommittee, Anupama Kathiresan, Chair Community Service Committee, Stephen Patrick, Chair

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