Inadequate Functional Health Literacy Among Patients at Two Public Hospitals

Mark V. Williams, Ruth M. Parker, David W. Baker, Nina Parikh, Kathryn Pitkin, Wendy C. Coates, Joanne R. Nurss

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

To determine the ability of patients to complete successfully basic reading and numeracy tasks required to function adequately in the health care setting. -Cross-sectional survey. -Two urban, public hospitals. -A total of 2659 predominantly indigent and minority patients, 1892 English-speaking and 767 Spanish-speaking, presenting for acute care. -Functional health literacy as measured by the Test of Functional Health Literacy in Adults (TOFHLA), an instrument that measures ability to read and understand medical instructions and health care information presented in prose passages and passages containing numerical information (eg, prescription bottle labels and appointment slips). -A high proportion of patients were unable to read and understand written basic medical instructions. Of 2659 patients, 1106 (41.6%) were unable to comprehend directions for taking medication on an empty stomach, 691 (26%) were unable to understand information regarding when a next appointment is scheduled, and 1582 (59.5%) could not understand a standard informed consent document. A total of 665 (35.1%) of 1892 English-speaking patients and 473 (61.7%) of 767 Spanish-speaking patients had inadequate or marginal functional health literacy. The prevalence of inadequate or marginal functional health literacy among the elderly (age ≥60 years) was 81.3% (187/230) for English-speaking patients and 82.6% (57/69) for Spanish-speaking patients, and was significantly higher (P

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1677-1682
Number of pages6
JournalJAMA - Journal of the American Medical Association
Volume274
Issue number21
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 6 1995

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Health Literacy
Public Hospitals
Appointments and Schedules
Consent Forms
Delivery of Health Care
Urban Hospitals
Poverty
Prescriptions
Reading
Stomach
Cross-Sectional Studies

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)

Cite this

Inadequate Functional Health Literacy Among Patients at Two Public Hospitals. / Williams, Mark V.; Parker, Ruth M.; Baker, David W.; Parikh, Nina; Pitkin, Kathryn; Coates, Wendy C.; Nurss, Joanne R.

In: JAMA - Journal of the American Medical Association, Vol. 274, No. 21, 06.12.1995, p. 1677-1682.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Williams, Mark V. ; Parker, Ruth M. ; Baker, David W. ; Parikh, Nina ; Pitkin, Kathryn ; Coates, Wendy C. ; Nurss, Joanne R. / Inadequate Functional Health Literacy Among Patients at Two Public Hospitals. In: JAMA - Journal of the American Medical Association. 1995 ; Vol. 274, No. 21. pp. 1677-1682.
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