Health literacy and numeracy: key factors in cancer risk comprehension – 2008 [US]
Health literacy, including numeracy, is essential to meaningful participation in shared healthcare decision making and has been accepted as a determinant of health. This study, by Donelle et al (2008), examined the influence of prose literacy and numeracy skill, math anxiety, education level and context of information on a patient's ability to comprehend Internet-based colorectal cancer prevention information. The study findings highlight the importance of presenting web-based information that accommodates diverse health literacy and numeracy levels.
How the stigma of low literacy can impair patient-professional spoken interactions and affect health: insights from a qualitative investigation – 2013 [UK]
Easton et al (2013) interviewed adults with low literacy about their perspectives on access to health care services, self-management of health conditions and health behaviours. Participants reported various difficulties during consultations which had negatively impacted on their broader health care experiences and ability manage their own health conditions. Easton et al (2013) found that low-literacy-related stigma can seriously impair spoken interactions with health professionals and lessen the potential benefits of health services. Health policies increasingly emphasis the need for patients' participation in their own health care. Health professionals therefore need to simplify the literacy requirements of service use and offer non-judgmental (universal) literacy-sensitive support to promote positive healthcare experiences and outcomes.
Health literacy. Editor’s perspective [US]
In this editorial Robert Ferguson discusses the issues around communication with patients, patient health literacy and the communication skills of physicians. Ferguson (2013) notes some of the systemic pressures contributing to decreased communication with patients and the lack of patient communication skills among medical residents. Ferguson (2013) briefly describes the use of the bedside for teaching residents about health literacy issues. Medical residents are guided in these interactions by bedside-experienced faculty members with health literacy awareness skills. This editorial is from the Journal of Community Hospital Internal Medicine Perspectives.
Matching clinical information with levels of patient health literacy [UK]
Good communication between healthcare professionals and patients is central to therapeutic relationships, and patients need to know how to access, understand and make use of services and information to promote and maintain their health. This article, by Jo Protheroe and Gill Rowlands (2013), describes how practising effective communication can improve patient care and how nurses, with their central role in patient advocacy, are well placed to become health literacy champions for their patients and the wider National Health Service. Healthcare professionals should take a ‘universal precautions’ approach to communication with patients, not just when health literacy is obviously low.
Health literacy: How much is lost in translation? [Aus]
This editorial, by Effing et al (2013), provides an introduction to the topic of health literacy within the COPD context. The authors consider health literacy to be of particular concern as a relatively high proportion of the COPD population are older and have a lower socioeconomic status. Effing et al (2013) go on to briefly discuss assessing health literacy in clinical situations and barriers to effective communication with COPD patients. (To open this article click on View on the right hand side)
Impact of communicative and critical health literacy on understanding of diabetes care and self-efficacy in diabetes management: a cross-sectional study of primary care in Japan [Jap]
Inoue et al (2013) examined how health literacy, particularly communicative and critical health literacy, is related to the patient’s understanding of diabetes care and self-efficacy for diabetes management in primary care settings. Inoue et al (2013) also examined the impact of patient–physician communication factors on these outcomes, taking health literacy into account. The researchers found that communicative and critical health literacy and clear patient–physician communication were independently associated with the patient’s understanding of diabetes care and self-efficacy. Inoue et al (2013) recommend that the potential impact of communicative and critical health literacy should be considered in communications with, and the education of, patients with diabetes in primary care settings.
Medication therapy management [US]
In this 2013 TEDx presentation Timothy Ulbrich talks about the evolving role of the community pharmacist and how pharmacists are playing a key role in addressing the US medication crisis. He identifies three issues they have come together to create the ‘Perfect Storm’ in American healthcare: increasing health care costs, barriers to medication adherence and poor communication between providers and between provider and patients. Ulbrich discusses poor health literacy as a contributor to communication issues between providers and patients. Ulbrich considers the pharmacy medication checkup as the critical point where these issues can be identified and addressed.
Parent Opinions About Use of Text Messaging for Immunization Reminders [US]
Adherence to childhood immunization schedules is a function of various factors. Given the increased use of technology as a strategy to increase immunization coverage, it is important to investigate how parents perceive different forms of communication, including traditional means and text-message reminders. Ahlers-Schmidt et al (2012) sought to examine current forms of communication about immunization information, parents’ satisfaction levels with these communication modes, perceived barriers and benefits to using text messaging, and the ideal content of text messages for immunization reminders. Ahlers-Schmidt et al (2012) found that most parents were satisfied with traditional communication and that the benefits of receiving text messages for immunization reminders far outweighed the barriers identified by parents. Few barriers identified were text specific. Those that were, centered on cost if parents did not have unlimited texting plans.
Low-Literacy Interventions to Promote Discussion of Prostate Cancer: A Randomized Controlled Trial
Professional organisations recommend that physicians discuss prostate cancer with patients to make individual screening decisions. However, few studies have tested strategies to encourage such discussions, particularly among high-risk populations. Kripalani et al (2007) examined the effects of two low-literacy interventions on the frequency of prostate cancer discussion and screening. It was found that two simple low-literacy interventions significantly increased discussion of prostate cancer and prostate specific antigen test orders, but not performance of digital rectal examinations. Both interventions were effective in empowering low-literacy patients to initiate conversations about prostate cancer with their physician.
Plain Language Thesaurus for Health Communication
This thesaurus (74 pages), from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, offers plain language equivalents to medical terms, phrases, and references that we often use. The technical terms found in health information can be confusing. This thesaurus is a tool to help you find words that people may understand better.