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IMIA Celebrates Its 25th Year Anniversary



Health Literacy

1.  Low Health Literacy Puts Patients at Risk - The Joint Commission Sets Forth Solutions to National Problem

Effective communication is a cornerstone of patient safety," says Dennis S. O'Leary, M.D., president, The Joint Commission. "If patients lack basic understanding of their conditions and the whats and whys of the treatments prescribed, therapeutic goals can never be realized, and patients may instead be placed in harm's way." The detailed solutions developed by a special Joint Commission Expert Roundtable focus on making effective communications a priority in protecting the safety of patients; addressing patient communications needs across the spectrum of care; and pursuing public policy changes that promote better communications between health care practitioners and patients. Failure to provide patients with information about their care in ways that they can understand, The Joint Commission report warns, will continue to undermine other efforts to improve patient safety.

2. Health Literacy: A Prescription to End Confusion

The IOM Committee on Health Literacy (http://www.iom.edu/?id=21119) released a report in April 2004 entitled Health Literacy: A Prescription to End Confusion. This report examines the body of knowledge in the field of health literacy and recommends actions to promote a health literate society.

IOM defines health literacy as:
--the degree to which individuals can obtain, process, and understand the basic health information and services they need to make appropriate health decisions. But health literacy goes beyond the individual. It also depends upon the skills, preferences, and expectations of health information and care providers: our doctors; nurses; administrators; home health workers; the media; and many others.--

3. Plain Talk in Healthcare - New Language Services

Formed in 1993 as the Plain Language Network (http://www.plainlanguagenetwork.org/), the Plain Language Association International is a growing volunteer nonprofit organization of plain-language advocates, professionals, and organizations committed to plain language


4. Health Literacy Program Video

http://classes.kumc.edu/general/amaliteracy/lowhealthlitlowband.wvx

As a medical interpreter, are you familiar with health literacy movement? The goal of this movement is to improve health care access by lowering the register of oral and written communication with patients. Many agree that discharge instructions, for example, that cannot be understood by the average patient due to a high language register are of little use to the patient.

Some organizations actually require a source text to be adapted to sixth grade reading level in English before translating patient materials. There are many ways to improve health literacy in your facility, and thus help overcome disparities in health care through effective communication. How is this relevant for medical interpreters?

Well, many interpreters find themselves changing or adapting the high register of the provider so that a patient with lower literacy can understand the message in lay terms. This is a problem that interpreters face daily, and although the MMIA Standards of Practice recommends against register adaptation, it is a strong temptation for interpreters as it is easier than the intervention of requesting the provider to lower the register.

For more information on the health literacy movement, check out the Health Literacy Program Video - Low Health Literacy: You Can't Tell By Looking, an 18-minute video. To view the video, click on the title above.  Please note that your computer may need to install new software to actually view the video).


5.  Health Literacy Toolkit

The American Medical Association has a health literacy toolkit that is highly recommended:  http://www.ama-assn.org/ama/pub/category/9913.html


6. Article on Intergrating Literacy, Culture and Language

"Intergrating literacy, culture and language to improve health care quality for diverse populations" an articly by Dennis Andrulis Cindy Brach is now available from the AHRQ Clearinghouse.  You can see a write up of the article at http://www.ahrq.gov/research/oct07/1007RA6.htm and request a copy - AHRQ Pub. No 07-R079 - from 800-358-9295.  Center for Delivery, Organization and Markets Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, 540 Gaither Road, Rockville, MD 20850.  Cindy.Brach@ahrq.hhs.gov .


7. Health Literacy Practices

Health Literacy Practices in Primary Care Settings: Examples From the Field

Low health literacy is widespread among U.S. patients, yet limited research has been done to assess the effects of health literacy practices designed to combat the problem, particularly among safety-net providers in primary care settings. This report presents findings from a 2005 study in which the Association of Clinicians for the Underserved first did an online survey of health care facilities across the country and then followed it up with visits to five selected sites for staff and patient interviews. The study identified five health literacy practices that staff considered especially valuable for their group's patients and potentially applicable to other clinics: a team effort, beginning at the front desk; use of standardized communication tools; use of plain language, face-to-face communication, pictorials, and educational materials; clinicians partner with patients to achieve goals; and organizational commitment to create an environment where health literacy is not assumed.

For more information please go to:  http://www.commonwealthfund.org/usr_doc/Barrett_hlt_literacy_practices_primary_care_settin.pdf?section=4039


8.   Health Literacy Listserv

http://www.nifl.gov/mailman/listinfo/Healthliteracy


9.   MedlinePlus has a section of Easy to Read materials

http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/easytoread/easytoread_a.html


10.   Multimedia Format Materials

Healthy Roads Media http://www.healthyroadsmedia.org/ has multimedia format materials.


11. Dr. Enrica Ardemagni has put together a concise list of literature and relevant websites on health literacy.   http://imiaweb.org/uploads/pages/220.doc


12. Health Literacy Practices in Primary Care Settings: Examples From the Field

Low health literacy is widespread among U.S. patients, yet limited research has been done to assess the effects of health literacy practices designed to combat the problem, particularly among safety-net providers in primary care settings. This report presents findings from a 2005 study in which the Association of Clinicians for the Underserved first did an online survey of health care facilities across the country and then followed it up with visits to five selected sites for staff and patient interviews. The study identified five health literacy practices that staff considered especially valuable for their group's patients and potentially applicable to other clinics: a team effort, beginning at the front desk; use of standardized communication tools; use of plain language, face-to-face communication, pictorials, and educational materials; clinicians partner with patients to achieve goals; and organizational commitment to create an environment where health literacy is not assumed.

For more information please go to:
http://www.commonwealthfund.org/usr_doc/Barrett_hlt_literacy_practices_primary_care_settin.pdf?section


13.  Podcast on Health Literacy Out Loud at:

http://www.healthliteracyoutloud.com/2009/11/09/hlol-27-cahps-health-literacy-item-set-an-interview-with-dr-carolyn-clancy/


14.  CAHPS Item Set for Addressing Health Literacy on pages 8-13 of the Clinician & Group CAHPS at:

https://www.cahps.ahrq.gov/cahpskit/files/351a-4_AdultPrim_Eng_4pt_V1.pdf


15.  Health Literacy Quality Improvement Crosswalk in About the CAHPS Item Set for Addressing Health Literacy at:

https://www.cahps.ahrq.gov/cahpskit/files/1311_About_Health_Lit.pdf

16.  Health Literacy & Plain Language Resource Guide by Health Literacy Innovations

http://www.imiaweb.org/uploads/docs/HLI_Resources_Guide.pdf


17.  The Plain Language Association International

http://www.plainlanguagenetwork.org/

Additional Documents

>View Joint Commission Solutions

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