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A Call for Partnerships Between Adult Literacy, Public Health, and Medicine Dean Schillinger, MD UCSF Associate Professor of Medicine Community Engagement.

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Presentation on theme: "A Call for Partnerships Between Adult Literacy, Public Health, and Medicine Dean Schillinger, MD UCSF Associate Professor of Medicine Community Engagement."— Presentation transcript:

1 A Call for Partnerships Between Adult Literacy, Public Health, and Medicine Dean Schillinger, MD UCSF Associate Professor of Medicine Community Engagement Program Director, Center for Vulnerable Populations, San Francisco General Hospital

2 Objectives Review US literacy statistics as they relate to health demands Describe research on relationship between literacy and health List some examples of collaborative interventions and evaluation Stimulate discussions regarding models for partnership between practitioners in Literacy, Public Health and Medicine, and associated organizations

3 1 st National Assessment of Health Literacy 1 st National Assessment of Health Literacy n=19,714 Below Basic: Circle date on doctor’s appointment slip Basic: Give 2 reasons a person with no symptoms should get tested for cancer based on a clearly written pamphlet Intermediate: Determine what time to take Rx medicine based on label Proficient: Calculate employee share of health insurance costs using table National Center for Educational Statistics, U.S. Department of Education, 2003

4 1 st Health Literacy Assessment Basic Below Basic Proficient 14% 12% 53% 22% National Assessment of Adult Literacy (NAAL): National Center for Educational Statistics, U.S. Department of Education, 2003. Intermediate Average Medicare Hispanic n=19,000 U.S. Adults


6 Literacy and health People with limited literacy skills not only have problems with reading, but more likely to have difficulties with: »calculations, numeric problem solving »oral communication (less understanding, lower knowledge, restricted vocabulary, and less active speakers) »Short-term memory »Carrying out medical instructions or learn new skills »This combination of characteristics is what many refer to as “low health literacy”

7 Literacy and health In elderly population, limited literacy associated with »lower self-rated health »higher rates of some chronic diseases, »higher adjusted mortality In public hospital patients with diabetes, limited literacy associated with poor blood sugar control, diabetes complications, mediates the relationship between education and diabetes outcomes Sudore, Schillinger 2006 JGIM Schillinger et al. 2002 JAMA; 2006 Pub Health Rep

8 Limited literacy Adequate literacy P-value Hypertension62.7%54.7%<.0001 Diabetes25.2%14.6%<.0001 Obesity31.1%23.0%<.0001 Self-reported chronic conditions among an elderly cohort, by literacy* (N=2, 512) Sudore, et al JGIM 2006

9 Literacy is Associated with Blood Sugar Control, N=408 (Tight Control: HbA1c  7.2%) (Poor Control: HbA1c>9.5%) Adjusted OR=0.57, p=0.05 Adjusted OR=2.03, p=0.02 Schillinger JAMA 2002

10 ComplicationNAOR Eye Disease1112.33 Kidney Disease621.71 Amputation272.48 Stroke462.71 Heart Disease931.73 Adjusted odds of self-reported diabetes complications, for patients with inadequate vs. adequate literacy (N=408) Schillinger JAMA 2002

11 Sudore, Schillinger. 2006 l Limited literacy associated with higher adjusted mortality (OR 2.03, AOR 1.75)

12 How is Literacy Linked to Health Outcomes? 4 hypotheses 1. Confounding Limited literacy  confounders  illness 2. Mediation at individual or community level Limited literacy  health mediators (behavior and exposure)  illness 3. Reverse Causation/cyclical Illness  limited literacy  worse health trajectory 4. Effect Modification at Health Care System Level Limited literacy  poor quality of care  illness and premature death/morbidity Schillinger IOM 2004

13 How Does Limited Literacy Affect (Verbal) Clinical Interactions? Impedes understanding of technical information and explanations of self-care Impairs shared decision-making Speed of dialogue, extent of jargon, lack of interactivity determinants of effectiveness of communication Impairs medication communication, jeopardizing patient safety (medication “discordance”) Interaction between limited English proficiency and limited literacy Fang et al. 2006 JGIM Schillinger et al. 2004 Pt Ed and Counseling Castro et al, Am J Health Beh 2007 Schillinger et al. 2003 Arch Int Med Schillinger et al 2004. AHRQ Advances in Patient Safety

14 Diabetes Patients with Limited Literacy Experience Poorer Quality Communication, N=408 (Often/Always) (Never/Rarely/ Sometimes) 32% 13% 26% 21% 33% 20% Schillinger 2004

15 Characteristic% 1 pass% 2 passes% >2 passes Adequate literacy364519 Marginal literacy226216 Inadequate literacy116227 US born374617 Born outside US156125 The number of passes required to obtain informed consent Sudore, Schillinger 2006 JGIM


17 Jargon Terms …unclarified Glucometer Glucometer Immunizations Immunizations Weight is stable Weight is stable Microvascular complication System of nerves System of nerves HbA1c HbA1c EKG abnormalities EKG abnormalities Dialysis Dialysis Wide Range Risk factors Risk factors Kidney function Interact …clarified Angina Microalbuminuria Ophthalmology Genetic Creatinine Symptoms …from Patient’s own visit: benign blood drawn blood count CAT scan blood count correlate stool was negative stool baseline respiratory tract polyp washed out of your system receptors short course renal clinic blood cells increase your R screening vaccine

18 Provide Health Education 29% Deliver Test Results 24% Provide Recommendations 37% Assess Symptoms 10% n = 60 Function of Jargon Castro, Schillinger AJHB 2007

19 Would you please tell me in your own words what dialysis means? In your own words, what do you think the doctor was trying to tell the patient? “ Check something every day. ” 1 “ Sugar is too high. ” 1 “ What? Is that about you toes? ” 1 “ I can't say it. ” 1 “ It means that your diabetes is going worse that you have to exercise to make diabetes. ” 1 “ Means that more people are getting diabetes. ” 1 “ You got to get on machine to pump.. redo blood to come up to par. ” 4 “ That the sugar was not … hmm. ” 1 “… regarding kidney. ” 2 “ Diabetes is one cause of kidney problems. ” 3 “ That is a warning … about the kidney … my doctor told me about those side effects of the diabetes. ” 3 “ About dialysis, because they are warning us, they are telling me about the complications … that if I'm having problems in my kidney, I'm going to have dialysis. ” 4 “ It ’ s a way to clean blood get off toxins out the blood. ” 4 “ That you need to be on dialysis to cleanse blood or gonna die. ” 4 Dialysis Dialysis “Do you know what the number one cause for people in this country being on dialysis is? Diabetes”

20 Unclarified / Own Visit Unclarified Jargon Clarified Jargon Patient Comprehension of Jargon (% Some /Total Understanding)

21 “I’m sorry, but I can’t carry on an intelligent conversation. I’m visual.”

22 Provider-Patient Concordance in Medication Regimen Patients with atrial fibrillation at high risk of stroke Treatment with warfarin (blood-thinner) reduces risk of stroke by 70% Requires close monitoring and frequent dose adjustments Miscommunication/ inappropriate dosing can lead to poor outcomes (stroke or bleeding)

23 Method for Obtaining Patient Reports “VERBAL” Can you tell me exactly how you take your warfarin/Coumadin ® ? »On which days of the week did your doctor tell you to take it? »How many pills did your doctor tell you to take on those days? »What is the number of milligrams (mg) on Mon., Tues., Weds... “VISUAL” Can you tell me exactly how you take your warfarin/Coumadin ® by pointing to the pill or pills your doctor told you to take? »On which days of the week did your doctor tell you to take it? »How many pills did your doctor tell you to take on those days?

24 Patient-Provider Regimen Concordance is Low, but Improves When Regimen Assessed with Visual Aid, N=220 Schillinger J Health Comm 2006

25 Assessing Medication Regimen Using Visual Mode Superior to Verbal Mode for Limited Literacy and Non-English Speakers Verbal Better Visual Better Literacy (n=142) Adequate Marginal Inadequate Language (n=169) English Spanish Cantonese 1.3 2.0 1.7* 1.5 1.7* 6.4*

26 Anticoagulant regimen concordance lower for patients with inadequate vs adequate literacy (42 % vs 64 %), Anticoagulant discordance associated with being out of therapeutic range: »under-anticoagulation »over-anticoagulation Literacy, Discordance and Safety Schillinger J Health Comm 2006

27 12 Characteristics of Health System that Contribute to Poor Communication for Patients with Limited Literacy “High bar“ communication objectives (mastery of self-care skills, informed/shared decision-making) Lack of interactivity Lack of time, incentives Reliance on “activated patient”/Reactive vs. proactive system Unprepared, untrained workforce Reliance on physicians, rather than allied health professionals, teams Reliance on single modes of communication (written, verbal) Provider-population mismatch/deficiency across language, culture Highly bureaucratic system High concentration of patients in under-resourced safety net Undeveloped technology platforms to support communication (pre-visit, visit, post-visit, inter-visit) Competing demands of multiple chronic conditions Schillinger, 2006

28 Some Examples of Collaborative Work Depression Co-Intervention Diabetes Guide and Kaiser TTT intervention Advance Directives Visual Medication Schedule

29 A Diabetes Guide That Helps Patients Take Charge and Make Changes Terry Davis, PhD LSUHSC Darren DeWalt, MD UNC Dean Schillinger, MD Hilary Seligman, MD UCSF ____________ © American College of Physicians Foundation

30 ACPF Guide is Practical and Personal Patients’ voices illustrate concrete, practical tips Patients suggest achievable goals Authentic photos help tell the story

31 Pictures Help Tell the Story Patients looked at pictures first Particularly liked pictures of food comparisons Too muchRight size



34 Computerized Visual Medication Schedule Machtinger, Schillinger 2007 J Qual Safety

35 Other Models for Adult Literacy- Public Health-Clinical Partnerships Jointly develop health skills curriculum for adult literacy context Jointly develop public health/clinical communication messages or interventions Jointly develop communication technology solutions Implement public health interventions in adult literacy settings Implement adult “health literacy” training/coaching in clinical settings Provide health care access in adult literacy settings Partner health-literacy-media for strategic communications Collaborate in professional/graduate training


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