Archive for the ‘Health Literacy’ Category
According to recent studies, and despite new private insurance coverage over the past year, many people do not understand the very terms and concepts necessary to make informed choices. A new Alliance for Health Reform Toolkit, Health Literacy and Health Insurance Literacy: Do Consumers Know What they are Buying? addresses the extent and significance of both health literacy and health insurance literacy for Americans buying and using health insurance.
A few highlights from the Toolkit:
- Nearly nine out of ten adults have difficulty using health information to make informed decisions about their health.
- Half of Americans don’t understand such basic health insurance terms as premium, deductible and copay.
- Thirty-seven percent of marketplace enrollees did not know their deductible, and 47% of those receiving subsidies did not know the amount of federal assistance they were getting.
- The cost of low health literacy in the United States currently represents between 7% and 17% of all personal health care expenditures.
Contents of the Toolkit include:
- An overview of problems associated with health literacy as well as studies analyzing their impact.
- Links to reports and news articles explaining and analyzing the issue.
- Contact information for leading experts on the issue.
The National Library of Medicine’s Refugee Health Information Network (RHIN) resource was a national collaborative partnership with the principal focus of creating and making available a database of quality multilingual/multicultural, public health resources to professionals providing care to resettled refugees and asylees. In October, 2014, NLM’s Specialized Information Services (SIS) broadened the scope of RHIN by rebranding it HealthReach. This was done to better meet the needs of the diverse non-English and English as a second language speaking audiences. HealthReach continues to recognize the importance of providing refugee and asylee specific information while expanding the information provided to meet the needs of most immigrant populations. Over the next several months new resources will be added to the web site. There is also a new Twitter feed, @NLM_HealthReach. There isn’t much change between the old RHIN and the new HealthReach; this was intentional to help with the continuity of service through the transition.
From Coverage to Care (C2C) is an initiative from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) designed to help people with new health coverage understand their benefits and connect to primary care and the preventive services that are right for them. C2C resources, available in both English and Spanish, are now available to download and print.
Available resources include:
- A Roadmap to Better Care and a Healthier You (Una Guía para Un Mejor Cuidado y Una Vida Más Saludable) that includes 8 steps to explain what health coverage is, and how to use it to get needed care.
- Consumer tools including a sample insurance card and a sample explanation of benefits.
- An 11-part video series that helps explain the information covered in the Roadmap.
To learn when new resources become available, sign up for notifications through the Minority Health listserv. From Coverage to Care materials are also available through the order page.
The Health Sciences and Human Services Library, University of Maryland, Baltimore, has announced the release of the Student Health Advocates Redefining Empowerment (SHARE) Curriculum, developed as the result of a three-year Health Information Resource Grant to Reduce Health Disparities (G08LM0011079) from the National Library of Medicine. The grant aimed to empower high school students as community health advocates, improve health in Baltimore neighborhoods, and develop a replicable student health advocacy program. The entire curriculum consists of six modules. Each module can be used independently as well. The modules are:
- Overview of Health Disparities
- Quality Health Information
- Taking Charge of Your Health
- Smart Food Choices
- Crafting and Delivering the Message
- Promoting Health and Wellness in Your Community
These modules were developed after working with two cohorts of students from Vivien T. Thomas Medical Arts Academy in Baltimore. In addition to detailed lesson plans, each class has assignments and handouts and is aligned with national standards. Supplemental activities are also provided. In order to build a community around the curriculum, a blog is available to share ideas and suggestions and discuss the curriculum. For more information, please contact Project SHARE.
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.