In the News
On this page you will find the latest news on what’s happening in the world of patient engagement and health literacy.
Organizational Health Literacy: Opportunities for Patient-Centered Care in the Wake of COVID-19
Jan/Mar, 2021 (PubMed)
The coronavirus disease-2019 (COVID-19) pandemic is transforming the health care sector. As health care organizations move from crisis mobilization to a new landscape of health and social needs, organizational health literacy offers practical building blocks to provide high-quality, efficient, and meaningful care to patients and their families. This article provides practical guidance for systems and informs decisions around resource allocation and organizational priorities to best meet the needs of patient populations even in the face of financial and workforce disruption.
The Effectiveness of an Active Learning Program in Promoting a Healthy Lifestyle among Older Adults with Low Health Literacy: A Randomized Controlled Trial
December 3, 2020 (PubMed)
The aim of this study was to examine the effects of an active learning program on health literacy, lifestyle behaviors, physical function, and mental health among community-dwelling older adults with low health literacy. When compared to the control group, the intervention group demonstrated a significant improvement in communicative health literacy, step count, engagement in moderate-to-vigorous physical activity, dietary variety, life-space mobility, social network size, grip strength, gait speed, and depressive symptoms. The active learning program can promote a healthy lifestyle and prevent functional decline among older adults who lack the confidence to engage in health communication.
Health literacy on oral health practice and condition in an adult and elderly population
November 30, 2020 (PubMed)
The objective of this study was to investigate the impact of health literacy (HL) on health practices and oral health outcomes in an adult and elderly population in Brazil. A cross-sectional study nested in a cohort study was followed up over a period of four years (2011 and 2015) and assessed individuals between 23 and 69 years old from Piracicaba, São Paulo, Brazil. Based on age and sex, LHL was associated with use of public dental service and use of emergency dental visits. Based on age, sex and socioeconomic status, LHL was associated with use of emergency dental visits.
Health Literacy and Preventive Behaviors Modify the Association between Pre-Existing Health Conditions and Suspected COVID-19 Symptoms: A Multi-Institutional Survey
November 19, 2020 (PubMed)
People with pre-existing health conditions (PEHC) are vulnerable to viral infection while health literacy (HL) and preventive behaviors (PB) have been shown to benefit people during the COVID-19 pandemic. The aim of this study was to examine the association between PEHC and suspected COVID-19 symptoms (S-COVID-19-S), and to investigate the modification effect of HL and PB. A cross-sectional study was conducted on 8291 participants visiting outpatient departments at 18 hospitals and health centers across Vietnam from 14 February to 31 May 2020. Higher HL and adherence to mask wearing can protect people from having S-COVID-19-S, especially in those with PEHC.
Health Literacy Within a Diverse Community-Based Cohort: The Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis
November 18, 2020 (PubMed)
Health literacy has yet to be described in a non-clinical, racially diverse, community-based cohort. Four questions assessing health literacy were asked during annual phone encounters with Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis (MESA) participants between 2016 and 2018 (n = 3629). We used prevalence ratios (PRs) with 95% confidence intervals (CIs) to characterize how demographic and acculturation factors related to limited health literacy.
Limited health literacy was prevalent in 15.4% of the sample. Participants who were older, female, lower-income, or less acculturated were at greater risk for having limited health literacy. Chinese, Hispanic, and Black participants were more likely than White participants to have limited health literacy. Patterns were similar when stratified by race/ethnicity.
Determinants of Health Literacy and Its Associations With Health-Related Behaviors, Depression Among the Older People With and Without Suspected COVID-19 Symptoms: A Multi-Institutional Study
November 16, 2020 (PubMed)
A cross-sectional study was conducted at outpatient departments of nine hospitals and health centers 14 February-2 March 2020. Self-administered questionnaires were used to assess patient characteristics, health literacy, clinical information, health-related behaviors, and depression. A sample of 928 participants aged 60-85 years were analyzed. The older people with higher health literacy were less likely to have depression and had healthier behaviors in the group with S-COVD-19-S. Potential health literacy interventions are suggested to promote healthy behaviors and improve mental health outcomes to lessen the pandemic’s damage in this age group.
Impact of health literacy on shared decision making for prostate‐specific antigen screening in the United State
November 9, 2020 (American Cancer Society)
Current guidelines endorse shared decision making (SDM) for prostate‐specific antigen (PSA) screening. The relationship between a patient’s health literacy (HL) and SDM remains unclear. In the current study, the authors sought to identify the impact of HL on the rates of PSA screening and on the relationship between HL and SDM following the 2012 US Preventive Services Task Force recommendations against PSA screening.
Measurement properties of self-report instruments to assess health literacy in older adults: a systematic review
November 9, 2020 (PubMed)
High health literacy (HL) is important to optimise health outcomes, particularly for older people (who are substantial consumers of health services) and their adult caregivers. The aim of this systematic review was to evaluate measurement properties of HL instruments tested with these population groups. From 4261 unique papers located, 11 met inclusion criteria; six reported measurement properties of three HL self-report tools administered to older people (HLQ, eHEALS, and HeLMS) so are reported in this review, none involved caregiver samples. The HLQ and HeLMS were rated “moderate,” and eHEALS “low” for tool development. The HLQ, examined in four included studies, had the highest ratings and quality of evidence across the three measurement properties investigated in included papers.
Improving health literacy: Lessons from clinical ethics
November 6, 2020 (Baylor College of Medicine)
“If you were in my position, what would you do?”
I still remember the first time I witnessed a patient ask this question. I was working with a physician at a local primary care clinic. We had given the patient a new diagnosis of a heart condition, and followed the diagnosis with a series of options for medications, referrals, imaging, and further diagnostics.
As we moved on to the next individual waiting to be seen at the clinic, my mind still lingered in the previous patient’s room. Had we performed our duty in explaining the diagnosis and giving the patient the tools he needed to make the best health decisions for himself?
For me, this experience was only the first of many to follow that highlighted the importance of promoting health literacy… More than 80 million people in the U.S. general population demonstrate low health literacy. To these individuals, new medical diagnoses and treatments represent new languages that must be learned – terminology, regimens, statistics, and specialists.
Research brief: Improving Health Literacy Could Prevent Nearly 1 Million Hospital Visits and Save of $25 Billion a Year
October 26, 2020 (Pew)
Findings from new UnitedHealth Group research illustrate the importance of increasing health literacy as a key component in driving better health outcomes and improving health care affordability. Seniors — who use more health care services, have more chronic conditions, and take more medications compared to other age groups — benefit from increased health literacy levels because it helps them make informed decisions and enhances their health care experience.
Review of Organizational Health Literacy Practice at Health Care Centers: Outcomes, Barriers and Facilitators
October 16, 2020 (PubMed)
In this study, a systematic review of the literature was conducted to understand the evidence for the effectiveness of OHL and its health outcome, and the facilitators and barriers that influence the implementation of OHL. Evidence on the effectiveness of HL tools provides best practices and recommendations to enhance OHL capacities. Results indicated that shifting to a comprehensive OHL would likely be a complex process because HL is not usually integrated into the healthcare organization’s vision and strategic planning. Further development of OHL requires radical, simultaneous, and multiple changes.
ODPHP’s Health Literacy Custom List
October, 2020 (HealthyPeople2030)
Build a custom list of Healthy People 2030 objectives to use in your work. This custom list is publicly available to anyone with the link. If you add or remove an objective from the list, we’ll generate a new link.
How Health Literate Are You? Put your knowledge to the test with our latest quiz
October 14, 2020 (DHHS)
Scholars and fellows across Pew’s three biomedical research programs are working to tackle some of the biggest challenges in human health by bolstering scientific knowledge. They’re focusing on issues that affect all Americans—from infectious diseases and cancer to gut health and beyond. Take this quiz to test your health literacy skills and learn more about scientists’ promising research.
Organizational Health Literacy More Essential than Ever for Preventing and Managing Chronic Disease
October 14, 2020 (DHHS)
When healthcare consumers are unable find, understand, and use information to inform decisions about their care, the consequences can be dire. Because many healthcare interactions are happening remotely due to the COVID-19 pandemic, there is even greater risk for avoidable adverse outcomes due to misunderstanding.
2020 Federal Plain Language Report Card
October 13, 2020 (CenterForPlainLanguage)
A decade ago, Congress passed the Plain Writing Act to ensure that people can understand the information they receive from federal agencies. Since 2012, the Center for Plain Language has issued a yearly report card evaluating how well agencies follow this law.
This year we evaluated 20 Executive Branch agencies, including all 15 cabinet-level departments. Agencies earned grades between A and F for both organizational compliance, covering the staffing, training, and annual reporting required by law, and writing, focusing on how easy it is to find, understand, and use information the public needs. For this year’s writing grade, we looked at two online pages from each agency.
Center for Health Literacy Celebrates Health Literacy Month
October 13, 2020 (CenterForHealthLiteracy)
The UAMS Center for Health Literacy celebrates health literacy month with the Plain Pledge. The #PlainPledge is a social media campaign designed to engage health care professionals and students to pledge to use words that are easy to understand the first time someone hears or reads them. To take the pledge all you have to do is write a health-related word that you pledged to stop using in a word buster and take a selfie with it, and then share it on social media. A toolkit is available on our website.
With nearly 1 billion health-related Google searches each day, it is safe to say that many people use the internet to find health information. Unfortunately, due to the amount of misinformation on the internet some people don’t have the information they need to make appropriate health decisions for themselves. This is of significant importance given the current public health crisis with nearly 7 in 10 adults saying that searched for COVID-related information at the beginning of the pandemic. To address this need, we have created a new campaign with tips on finding health information online. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, or Instagram to learn more and share with your staff and the people you serve.
Access Center for Health Literacy
Happy 10th Anniversary Plain Writing Act (Video)
October 12, 2020 (CenterForPlainLanguage)
The Plain Writing Act is turning 10 years old on October 13, 2020. The Act gave U.S. federal employees the legal oomph to turn the stereotype that government writing is overly complicated, stilted, and obtuse on its head. No longer was plain language just a good idea that could easily be tossed aside for lack of time or tacked on the end of a project as if it were synonymous with proofreading. Plain language was the law. Government now had the responsibility to ensure a reader could find, understand, and use the information it provided.
Level of Health Literacy Among Patients With Thrombotic Thrombocytopenic Purpura
October 8, 2020 (HematologyAdvisor)
A team of investigators evaluated knowledge gaps among patients with thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura (TTP) in remission and found a range of levels of understanding of the condition. Findings were published in Hemasphere, a journal powered by the European Hematology Association.
Why Health – and Pancreatic Cancer – Literacy Matter
October 8, 2020 (PancreaticCancerActionNewtwork)
Patient navigators may be a valuable resource and are available at many hospitals and cancer centers across the country. These healthcare professionals can provide one-on-one guidance for patients as they face medical, legal or financial challenges, including helping you understand treatment options. Ask your healthcare team for patient navigators available to you.
Will the Effect of New Federal Breast Density Legislation Be Diminished by Currently Available Online Patient Educational Materials?
October, 2020 (PubMed)
To evaluate readability of commonly accessed online patient educational materials (OPEM) on breast density in setting of recently passed federal breast density legislation. Fouty-one websites met inclusion criteria representing patient-directed OPEM on breast density. Readability of currently available OPEM on breast density may be written at a level too difficult for the general public to comprehend, which may represent a barrier to educational goals of newly passed federal breast density legislation.
Instrumental and affective communication with patients with limited health literacy in the palliative phase of cancer or COPD
October 7, 2020 (PubMed)
Patients have a ‘need to know’ (instrumental need) and a ‘need to feel known’ (affective need). During consultations with patients with limited health literacy (LHL) in the palliative phase of their disease, both the instrumental and the affective communication skills of healthcare providers are important. The study aims to explore instrumental and affective communication between care providers and LHL patients in the palliative phase of COPD or cancer.
4 Main Barriers Diminishing Patient Activation Efforts
October 2, 2020 (PatientEngagement)
Driving meaningful patient-provider communication and addressing patient social determinants of health needs are key to patient activation. As the medical field pushes value-based care efforts, the concept of patient activation has become more critical. After all, it’s an activated patient who is able to fend off or manage illness in between clinic visits.
October is National Health Literacy Month!
October, 2020 (Health Literacy Month 2020)
Health Literacy Month is a time for organizations and individuals to promote the importance of understandable health information. This annual, worldwide, awareness-raising event has been going strong ever since Helen Osborne founded it in 1999. Learn more about the importance of making health information easy to understand and making the health care system easier to navigate by going to Health Literacy Month 2020.
The paradox of the link between health literacy and health promotion: the case of COVID-19
Jun-Sep, 2020 (PubMed)
Health literacy and COVID-19
September, 2020 (PubMed)
Access Health literacy and COVID-19
An app for supporting older people receiving home care – usage, aspects of health and health literacy: a quasi-experimental study
September, 2020 (PubMed)
Association Between Public Knowledge About COVID-19, Trust in Information Sources, and Adherence to Social Distancing:Cross-Sectional Survey
July-September, 2020 (JMIR)
Picture of a pandemic: visual aids in the COVID-19 crisis
September, 2020 (OxfordAcademic)
The role of health literacy, depression, disease knowledge, and self-efficacy in self-care among adults with heart failure: An updated model
November-December 2020 (ScienceDirect)