Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Pharmacy research can help raise health literacy standards

Date:
September 25, 2013
Source:
Elsevier Health Sciences
Summary:
Since a considerable amount of health information changes hands in the pharmacy setting, research by pharmacists into evaluating which tools are effective in practice can make a valuable contribution to goals set by the 2010 US National Action Plan to Improve Health Literacy, and lead to improvements in communications and health care.

Limited health literacy can lead to difficulties in patients' self-care activities such as taking prescribed medications. Since a considerable amount of health information changes hands in the pharmacy setting, research by pharmacists into evaluating which tools are effective in practice can make a valuable contribution to goals set by the 2010 US National Action Plan to Improve Health Literacy and lead to improvements in communications and health care, say experts in this special themed issue on "Pharmacy, Medication Use, and the National Action Plan to Improve Health Literacy," published in the journal Research in Social and Administrative Pharmacy.

Related Articles


Health literacy is defined by the Institute of Medicine as "the degree to which individuals have the capacity to obtain, process, and understand basic health information and services needed to make appropriate health decisions."

As reported by the 2003 National Assessment of Adult Literacy, approximately 36% of adult Americans exhibit health literacy skills that are at the basic level or below. This affects people's ability to search for and use health information, adopt healthy behaviors, and act on important public health alerts. Limited health literacy affects people of all ages, races, incomes, and education levels; but the impact of limited health literacy disproportionately affects lower socioeconomic and minority groups, which includes racial and ethnic minorities as well as seniors. Limited health literacy is also associated with poorer health outcomes and higher costs.

With these concerns in mind, and guided by Michael J. Miller, RPh, DrPH, FAPhA, of the College of Pharmacy, The University of Oklahoma, Research in Social and Administrative Pharmacy solicited and compiled a collection of papers from top authorities from around the world, affiliated with prominent institutions such as the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the US Department of Health and Human Services. Their collective contributions demonstrate pharmacy-relevant efforts supporting the US National Action Plan to Improve Health Literacy.

"The ideas generated from the research described in these papers should serve as a stimulus for future research and dialogue about a topic that is fundamental to ensuring optimal medication use, safety, and equity in health information-sharing," says Miller.

The US Department of Health and Human Services' 2010 National Action Plan to Improve Health Literacy defined seven goals to improve health literacy and suggested strategies for achieving them. The topics and studies in this special issue align most closely with goals on accessible, accurate, and actionable health information (Goal 1) and health-literate health care services (Goal 2). Improving quality and use of written communication materials, evaluating and creating environments that encourage active communication, and describing and testing novel ways to raise student awareness about health literacy issues highlight just a few of the important topics raised in this special themed issue.

Six studies examine the comprehensibility of patient education materials. Their conclusions support the value and necessity of clear communication and of designing and testing materials with the intended users.

Pharmacy schools are beginning to adopt health literacy as a framework for training the next generation of pharmacists to be effective communicators. Health literacy has begun appearing on syllabi, and has become a topic of experiential education activities. Six articles highlight the important role pharmacy schools are playing to further health literate pharmacy practice, while other contributions provide additional evidence of the important role pharmacy students can play in promoting health literacy in community pharmacies.

Other investigators found that to use the AHRQ Health Literacy Assessment to measure the impact of their training intervention, they had to modify the tool.

"The publication of this special issue on dissemination, translation, and evaluation of health literacy tools in pharmacy practice marks a significant accomplishment for the field," say editorial authors Cynthia Baur, PhD, of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and Cindy Brach, MPP, of the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, US Department of Health and Human Services. "Health literacy education, training, and practice improvement tools can contribute to reorienting future and current pharmacists. But to create 'health literate pharmacies,' practitioners and researchers must collaborate in evidence-based redesign of the 'pharmacies of the future.' Our medication delivery systems must be designed to make clear communication easy rather than perpetuate confusion and errors. We can't rely on individual pharmacists' good will if the systems they operate in hamper their ability to promote the safe use of medicines."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Elsevier Health Sciences. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Lih-Wern Wang, Michael J. Miller, Michael R. Schmitt, Frances K. Wen. Assessing readability formula differences with written health information materials: Application, results, and recommendations. Research in Social and Administrative Pharmacy, 2013; 9 (5): 503 DOI: 10.1016/j.sapharm.2012.05.009

Cite This Page:

Elsevier Health Sciences. "Pharmacy research can help raise health literacy standards." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 25 September 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/09/130925185608.htm>.
Elsevier Health Sciences. (2013, September 25). Pharmacy research can help raise health literacy standards. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 24, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/09/130925185608.htm
Elsevier Health Sciences. "Pharmacy research can help raise health literacy standards." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/09/130925185608.htm (accessed October 24, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Friday, October 24, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

WHO: Millions of Ebola Vaccine Doses by 2015

WHO: Millions of Ebola Vaccine Doses by 2015

AP (Oct. 24, 2014) The World Health Organization said on Friday that millions of doses of two experimental Ebola vaccines could be ready for use in 2015 and five more experimental vaccines would start being tested in March. (Oct. 24) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Doctor in NYC Quarantined With Ebola

Doctor in NYC Quarantined With Ebola

AP (Oct. 24, 2014) An emergency room doctor who recently returned to the city after treating Ebola patients in West Africa has tested positive for the virus. He's quarantined in a hospital. (Oct. 24) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Breakfast Debate: To Eat Or Not To Eat?

Breakfast Debate: To Eat Or Not To Eat?

Newsy (Oct. 23, 2014) Conflicting studies published in the same week re-ignited the debate over whether we should be eating breakfast. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ebola Fears Keep Guinea Hospitals Empty

Ebola Fears Keep Guinea Hospitals Empty

AP (Oct. 23, 2014) Fears of Ebola are keeping doctors and patients alike away from hospitals in the West African nation of Guinea. (Oct. 23) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins