Hospitalized Patients’ Knowledge of Care: a Systematic Review

Arielle E. Sommer*, Blair P. Golden, Jonna Peterson, Claire A. Knoten, Lyndsey O’Hara, Kevin J. O’Leary

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations

Abstract

Background: Patients’ comprehension of their medical conditions is fundamental to patient-centered care. Hospitalizations present opportunities to educate patients but also challenges to patient comprehension given the complexity and rapid pace of clinical care. We conducted a systematic review of the literature to characterize the current state of inpatients’ knowledge of their hospitalization, assess the methods used to determine patient comprehension, and appraise the effects of interventions on improving knowledge. Methods: We searched MEDLINE, EMBASE, and the Cochrane Library for articles published from January 1, 1995 through December 11, 2017. Eligible studies included patients under inpatient or observation status on internal medicine, family medicine, or neurology services. We extracted study characteristics (author, year, country, study design, sample size, patient characteristics, methods, intervention, primary endpoints, results) in a standardized fashion. The quality of observational studies was assessed using the NIH Quality Assessment Tool for Observation Cohort and Cross-Sectional Studies and the quality of interventional studies was assessed using adapted EPOC criteria from the Cochrane Collaboration. Results: Twenty-eight studies met the criteria for inclusion, including 17 observational studies and 11 interventional studies. Patient knowledge of all aspects of their hospitalization was poor and patients often overestimated their knowledge. Older patients and those with lower education levels were more likely to have poorer knowledge. Intervention methods varied, but generally showed improvements in patient knowledge. Few interventional studies assessed the effect on health behaviors or outcomes and those that did were often underpowered. Discussion: Clinicians should be aware that comprehension is often poor among hospitalized patients, especially in those with lower education and advanced age. Our results are limited by overall poor quality of interventional studies. Future research should use objective, standardized measures of patient comprehension and interventions should be multifaceted in approach, focusing on knowledge improvement while also addressing other factors influencing outcomes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2210-2229
Number of pages20
JournalJournal of general internal medicine
Volume33
Issue number12
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 1 2018

Keywords

  • comprehension
  • health knowledge
  • hospitalization
  • patient adherence
  • patient education
  • patient-centered care

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Internal Medicine

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