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:1/20/2017)... , ... January 20, 2017 , ... “The Land of ... attention to the issue of world hunger, and shares the simple and achievable answer. ... devoted husband and member of the Fairview Missionary Church in Angola, Indiana where he ...
(Date:1/19/2017)... ... ... Today, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced over 359,000 clinicians ... Clinicians who participate in APMs are paid for the quality of care they give ... build a system that delivers better care and one in which clinicians work together ...
(Date:1/19/2017)... ... 19, 2017 , ... Next week after January 20th, the fear for many ... that circumvent health needs of over 30 million. Many interviews with Dr. Carol Francis ... government public servants were suppose to prioritize. Interviews provided below. , Among ...
(Date:1/19/2017)... LINCOLN, R.I. (PRWEB) , ... January 19, 2017 , ... With the cold weather here, ... sidewalks. , Snow blowers are efficient when clearing large amounts of snow, but they can ... tips from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission for the proper use of snow blowers:, ...
(Date:1/19/2017)... ... January 19, 2017 , ... LabRoots , the ... around the world, announces the launch of its newly redesigned website. The sleek ... research breakthroughs and trending news, vital information on upcoming virtual events and webinars, ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:1/20/2017)... 2017 Entscheidung fällt ... Die internationale humanitäre Stadt soll um knapp ... Seine Hoheit Scheich Muhammad bin ... Herrscher von Dubai , hat den ... (International Humanitarian City IHC) zu verdreifachen, um den Betrieb ...
(Date:1/19/2017)... 19, 2017 The Global Therapy Partnering Terms ... to partnering deals and agreements entered into by the ... deals - Top deals by value - Deals listed ... type The report provides understanding and access to ... world,s leading healthcare companies. The report provides an ...
(Date:1/19/2017)... 19, 2017 Many patients don,t realize that ... when a pharmacy just a few blocks away charges ... this problem Medicationdiscountcard.com has created a price ... how much their medication will cost at most nearby ... Medicationdiscountcard.com takes all of ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: