Communication techniques for patients with low health literacy: A survey of physicians, nurses, and pharmacists

Joanne G. Schwartzberg*, Allison Cowett, Jonathan VanGeest, Michael S. Wolf

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

128 Scopus citations

Abstract

Objective: To explore the self-reported techniques used by health care professionals to enhance communication with patients with low health literacy. Methods: A survey was administered to physicians (n=99), nurses (n=87), and pharmacists (n=121) attending continuing education programs on patient safety and health care quality. Each was asked to rate communication-enhancing strategies by frequency of use and effectiveness with patients with low health literacy. Results: Using simple language (94.7%), handing out printed materials (70.3%), and speaking more slowly (67.3%) were the most commonly used strategies. Strategies currently recommended by health literacy experts were less routinely used. Conclusions: Further research is needed that evaluates the effectiveness of communication strategies for patients with limited literacy skills within diverse clinical encounters.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)s96-s104
JournalAmerican Journal of Health Behavior
Volume31
Issue numberSUPPL. 1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2007

Keywords

  • Communication
  • Health literacy
  • Patient education

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Social Psychology
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

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