Archive for the ‘Health Literacy’ Category
Enrollment is now available for the Health Literacy Leadership Institute, June 9-13, 2014, offered through the Health Communication Program at Tufts University School of Medicine in Boston, MA. This one-week Institute is designed for professionals committed to improving the health literacy of healthcare providers and the public. Those working in health literacy and students interested in pursuing careers in health literacy are encouraged to attend.
Participants learn from faculty and guest instructors highly regarded for their pioneering work in medical education, adult literacy, and program evaluation. Peer learning and the sharing of research and best practice are central to the Institute’s educational approach. During the course of the week, participants work on a health literacy project of their choice resulting in a final product that is current, comprehensive, informed by research, and reflective of best practice.
The Journal of General Internal Medicine published a commentary this month, “Physicians’ Roles in Creating Health Literate Organizations: A Call to Action,” that gives physicians guidance on their role in implementing health literate health care organizations. Physicians’ responsibilities to address health literacy are not restricted to improving the clinical encounter, declared authors Cindy Brach, Benard Dreyer, and Dean Schillinger. For health care organizations to become health literate, physicians must also be willing to serve as health literacy champions.
The authors detail actions physicians can take to implement each of the Ten Attributes of Health Literate Health Care Organizations, as described in an Institute of Medicine discussion paper by Brach, et al, published in 2012. The article also points readers to the Health Literacy Universal Precautions Toolkit to help physicians lead their practices in implementing health literacy universal precautions.
The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) has just released a new tool to help professionals choose more understandable and actionable materials; the Patient Education Materials Assessment Tool (PEMAT). Patient educational materials, such as brochures, medical instructions, and audiovisual aids, are often complex and lack clear information about what the patient should do. AHRQ’s PEMAT and User’s Guide provides a systematic method to evaluate and compare the understandability and actionability of patient education materials. By selecting health materials that score better on the PEMAT, you can be more confident that people of varying levels of health literacy will be able to process and explain key messages, and identify what they can do based on the information presented.
Additional tools for improving health literacy are available from AHRQ’s website, including:
The Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) has just announced seven 2013 Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) Competitive Grants, totaling $487,158, for the Pacific Territories, Freely Associated States, and Hawaii. IMLS provides support for Pacific Territories, Freely Associated States, and U.S. Virgin Islands through a competitive process administered by Mid-continent Research for Education and Learning (McREL). This year’s grants were awarded to the following institutions. To see award details, visit the list of funded projects on the IMLS web site.
- Feleti Barstow Public Library – Pago Pago, American Samoa
- Joeten-Kiyu Public Library – Saipan, Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands
- FSM National Archives, Culture and Historic Preservation – Palikir, Pohnpei, Federated States of Micronesia
- Guam Public Library System – Hagatna, Guam
- Palau Ministry of Education – Koror, Palau
- Alele Museum, Public Library & National Archives – Majuro, Republic of the Marshall Islands
An additional award was made through the IMLS National Leadership Grant program to Pacific Resources for Education and Learning in Honolulu, HI. The $249,558 grant will support a project-based curriculum that uses the topics of nutrition and cultivation to increase childhood literacy. “The Pacific Territories and Freely Associated States face unique challenges in terms of connectivity, language, and outreach,” said IMLS Director Susan Hildreth. “While these projects are designed to address local needs, they also offer models of library service for other island nations.”
Congratulations to all the awardees!
The National Library of Medicine has initiated an outreach effort to the Latino community for the federal Web site on AIDS, infoSIDA, a free, online Spanish-language resource for HIV/AIDS information regarding treatment, prevention, and research findings. It is a service of the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and includes authoritative content from the following HHS agencies; the National Institutes of Health, including NLM; the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA); and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). This Spanish-language Web site is designed to provide health information resources to the Latino community in an easy-to-use format, utilizing culturally appropriate and relevant language.
Today in America, according to the CDC, approximately one in 50 Latinos will be diagnosed with HIV in their lifetime. The rate of new HIV infections among Latino men is almost three times that of white men (39.9 vs. 15.9 per 100,000), and the rate among Latinas is more than four times that of white women (11.8 vs. 2.6 per 100,000). In 2009, Hispanics/Latinos represented 16% of the U.S. population, but accounted for 20% of new HIV infections. Statistics like these and a need to reach vulnerable populations were a driving force in NLM’s recognition of the need to speak directly to Latinos on the issue of HIV/AIDS, in a culturally relevant manner.
NLM will be promoting the infoSIDA Web site through a multi-platform media outreach effort that includes two new radio public service announcements that will air on Spanish media outlets nationwide. In addition, Ms. Fedora Braverman, a librarian with the NLM Public Services Division, will take part in a June 1st broadcast of “Bienvenidos a América,” discussing infoSIDA and other Spanish-language consumer resources from NLM. Bienvenidos a América (BAA) is a weekly call-in radio show focused on providing Spanish preferred Latinos with information and resources specific to immigration issues. Since this program’s audience is a key component in determining the success of this campaign, NLM will utilize this program, which airs on 111 Spanish radio stations nationwide. In addition to being on the air, the NLM specific segment on BAA will be streamed and made available online. The online resources of infoSIDA will also be publicized and made available via NLM’s social media outlets. Twitter users are invited to follow or join the conversation by using the hash tag #infoSIDA2013.
We are entering a critical time in health care in the United States. The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) changes the American health care system in many ways. Of major importance is the fact that it expands access to health insurance for millions of Americans. But do Americans understand the changes that are coming? Do they understand their options for health insurance or how to choose the insurance plan that best meets their needs? And will they know how to use that insurance plan once they have it? Many people don’t have this understanding, and they have a hard time getting reliable information when they try to learn more.
Six participants in the Collaborative on Health Literacy and Access, Health Care Coverage, and Care of the IOM Roundtable on Health Literacy have prepared a discussion paper that presents basic information that can be used to help people understand their health insurance options. The 14-page paper, Helping Consumers Understand and Use
Health Insurance in 2014, is a resource for those who will be helping consumers make important decisions; including patient navigators, community organizations, employers, media, educators, and any individual or organization working to improve understanding of options for health insurance.
The National Library of Medicine (NLM) Outreach and Special Populations Branch has funded three innovative outreach projects in information dissemination for family and women’s health by public libraries and information centers. The NLM recognizes public libraries as strategic partners in increasing the awareness and utilization of NLM and National Institutes of Health (NIH) resources, and meeting NLM long range goals of health literacy, informing citizens, and reducing health disparities. All projects have a component on family health, and also target women as the main information gatherer and health decision influencer in the family.
Three libraries were funded, including one in the Pacific Southwest Region:
- Forsyth County Public Library, Winston-Salem, NC
- Petersburg Public Library system, Petersburg, VA
- Pima County Public Library, Tucson, AZ
The Pima County Public Library’s Heath Initiative Project aims to build capacity for women’s health literacy awareness, including self-health, family health, health care decision making, being the family health care giver; and resources, including those from the National Library of Medicine, for healthy living. The main objective is to support the library’s health literacy initiative and Health Information Literacy team in developing a toolkit that includes sustainable programming, partnerships, and resources for library community engagement.
Congratulations to all the awardees!
Health Literacy Innovations (HLI), creator of the Health Literacy Advisor (HLA), the nation’s first interactive health literacy software tool (in English and Spanish), has announced its 3rd annual Health Literacy Innovators Award contest. The contest, a national competition to reward innovators in health literacy, seeks the nation’s best health literacy practices in print, in practice, and in the media. It is open to any company, organization or individual that can demonstrate excellence in health literacy in one of the three contest categories. Contest winners, one per category, receive three annual licenses of the Health Literacy Advisor. The application deadline is August 31st, 2012. Information on contest rules and application forms is available on the web site.
Health Literacy Innovations creates tools to help eliminate medical mistakes and confusion due to low health literacy. HLI’s flagship product, the Health Literacy Advisor™ (in Spanish–Asesor de Comunicación en Salud™) is the nation’s first, only, and most powerful health literacy software tool. As a “health literacy checker,” the HLA streamlines the review and simplification process by allowing users to assess the readability of their documents and then make adjustments using plain language principles. The HLA applies nine well-known readability indices in English and six indices in Spanish, and an interactive search-and-replace function to eliminate hard-to-read terms and phrases and medical jargon with plain language alternatives. The combination of these two functions, a document “grade” with a readability score/grade level, and the ReadsEasy™ stamp (a reward for good work) sets the HLA software apart from programs or readability indices alone.
The Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) has released a seven minute video: “How Effective Healthcare Communication Contributes to Health Equity.” This video offers a helpful introduction for all healthcare providers on how culture, language and health literacy support the elimination of disparities and promote health equity. Effective healthcare communication policies and practices, including provider health literacy, contribute to improving the quality of services for culturally and linguistically diverse populations, as well as people with limited health literacy skills.
What is a Health Literate Organization?
In January 2012, participants in a workgroup of the Institutes of Medicine (IOM) Roundtable on Health Literacy published a discussion paper titled “Attributes of a Health Literate Organization.”
This paper describes ten attributes of a health literate organization, with examples for each attribute. Health literate organizations will make it “easier for people to navigate, understand, and use information and services to take care of their health.”
The authors underscore the importance of addressing health literacy at an organizational level, along with guidelines for various types of health care organizations. The paper concludes with a list of highly relevant resources that will be useful to anyone interested in this topic.
To see the detailed list of attributes and examples, please visit www.iom.edu/healthlit10attributes. A PDF of the discussion paper can be downloaded here.