Navigation Links
What can health-care facilities do to help patients better understand medical information
Date:9/15/2010

COLUMBIA, Mo. Studies show that nearly half of all Americans have difficulty understanding health information. Confusing medical directions, such as dosage and timing of prescription medicine, can lead to serious consequences including health setbacks, inappropriate hospital admissions and, sometimes, death. Now, researchers at the University of Missouri School of Health Professions are examining what health care facilities can do to increase patient understanding and positive outcomes.

Diane Smith, an assistant professor in MU's Department of Occupational Therapy and a collaborator with the University of Missouri's Center for Health Policy, and four occupational therapy graduate students conducted a pilot study focusing on the "health literacy environment" of two health care facilities. "Health literacy" is defined as a patient's ability to understand the health information provided to them by health professionals. The study focused on ease of navigation, including use of signage, facility maps and verbal & written communication.

"Our study is directed toward the provider making health information easier to understand for the client," said Smith, who is the interim chair of the occupational therapy department. "If patients can understand information better, they are going to be more compliant with medical direction. If they are more compliant, they are more likely to get better outcomes."

The study examined a rehabilitation facility and an independent senior-living facility. Although both facilities exhibited many strong points, both had areas in need of improvement. At the independent living facility, paperwork was written at a college-sophomore reading level. Previous studies have recommended that medical information be written at a fifth to eighth-grade reading level. Another common health literacy issue is clear oral communication between health care professionals and patients. At the rehabilitation facility, health care professionals rarely asked patients if they were "being clear." Problems with oral communication also extend to a lack of availability of multilingual employees who can translate for providers. Following the evaluation, the researchers gave suggestions to each facility.

Smith recommends several steps that the health care industry can take to increase patient understanding:

  • Health care professionals should use plain language, instead of professional jargon, as well as make sure a patient understands their directions.

  • Printed materials should be available in large, easy-to-read fonts and written at a fifth to eighth grade level.

  • Clear maps and consistent navigational signs should be posted throughout the interior, as well as on the exterior of the building.

  • Wheelchair accessibility also should be a consideration beyond mobility. For example, maps should be posted at wheelchair-level.

Smith is working to educate current and future health care professionals on the importance of patient understanding by speaking at professional conferences and advocating curriculum changes. This year, Smith has spoken and is scheduled to speak at professional conferences for rehabilitation professionals including occupational and speech therapists. MU's School of Health Professions also has added a health care literacy requirement to some of its degree programs.

"Health literacy is even more important as people are being discharged sooner from hospitals and are charged with their own care," Smith said. "I don't think miscommunication with patients is anything that anyone does on purpose. To facilitate better understanding, health literacy is something that should be more on the forefront of curriculum."


'/>"/>

Contact: Christian Basi
BasiC@missouri.edu
573-882-4430
University of Missouri-Columbia
Source:Eurekalert  

Related medicine news :

1. Nations leading ID experts call for mandatory flu vaccine for all health-care personnel
2. Canada needs health-care leadership at federal level
3. Reminding health-care staff to remove catheters reduces infections by half
4. Regional variation in health-care spending and utilization higher in Medicare than private sector
5. Health-care economics and policy: Its a perfect storm
6. Mecklenburg-West Pomerania is heading for a health-care crisis
7. Study finds surgical masks provided effective protection of health-care workers against H1N1
8. Decreasing health-care costs is focus of new informatics book by NJIT professor
9. House of Representatives Approves Health-Care Reform Bill
10. House Democrats Approve Health-Care Reform Bill
11. Showdown Over Health-Care Reform Bill Nears
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
What can health-care facilities do to help patients better understand medical information
(Date:2/10/2016)... (PRWEB) , ... February 10, 2016 , ... ... practitioner, is known locally for a series of therapeutic sessions to help Los ... their characters and in their lives. The series, known as “Mindfulness for Actors ...
(Date:2/10/2016)... ... February 10, 2016 , ... MetLoop ... revolutionary new 2.0 version at the International Roofing Expo in Orlando, Florida on ... the world's most advanced weather technology in the hands of consumers, roofing contractors, ...
(Date:2/10/2016)... ... February 10, 2016 , ... The Wickman Agency in Garland, ... the local community. Pledging to select a new beneficiary every 60 days, the ... Their goal is to bring community awareness to important local causes by forming ...
(Date:2/10/2016)... ... 2016 , ... Ongoing news of the ravages of traumatic brain injury (TBI) ... survey that takes a closer look at cases of TBI being managed by their ... TBI among the aging population, and identifies the challenges associated with their care. , ...
(Date:2/10/2016)... ... 10, 2016 , ... Armune BioScience signed a definitive agreement with ... service centers across the country. Launched in April of 2015, Apifiny is the only ... cancer. Apifiny order volume exceeded 3,000 tests in 2015. Primary care physicians and urologists ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:2/10/2016)... DALLAS , Feb. 10, 2016  Fotona, based in ... it will launch its new ST PRO Lightwalker dental laser ... Chicago Dental Society from 25-27 February, 2016 in booth #4815. ... tissue dental laser with many of the features of the ... $49,900, the ST PRO competitive price will be very attractive ...
(Date:2/10/2016)...   Genomic Health, Inc. (Nasdaq: GHDX ) today ... ended December 31, 2015. --> --> ... compared with $69.1 million in the fourth quarter of 2014, an ... 9 percent compared with the same period in the prior year. ... $63.9 million in the fourth quarter of 2015, an increase of ...
(Date:2/10/2016)...  Cepheid (Nasdaq: CPHD ) today announced ... President and Chief Operating Officer, has been promoted ... Officer.  In his new capacity, Mr. Kocmond,s responsibilities ... Operations in addition to Manufacturing Operations, Engineering, Technical ... to report to John Bishop , Cepheid,s ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: