Measuring adult literacy in health care: Performance of the newest vital sign

Chandra Y. Osborn*, Barry D. Weiss, Terry C. Davis, Silvia Skripkauskas, Christopher Rodrigue, Pat F. Bass, Michael S. Wolf

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

146 Scopus citations


Objective: To compare performance of the newest vital sign (NVS) with existing literacy measures. Methods: We administered the NVS and REALM to 129 patients, and NVS and S-TOFHLA to 119 patients all in public clinics. Results: The NVS demonstrated high sensitivity for detecting limited literacy and moderate specificity (area under the receiver operating characteristic [AUROC] curve 0.71-0.73). The NVS was less effective than the S-TOFHLA for predicting health outcomes. Con-clusion: The NVS is able to identify patients with limited literacy skills, but may misclassify those with adequate literacy according to the REALM and S-TOFHLA. NVS scores were not associated with health outcomes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)s36-s46
JournalAmerican Journal of Health Behavior
Issue numberSUPPL. 1
StatePublished - 2007


  • Health literacy
  • Literacy
  • Measurement
  • Newest vital sign
  • Outcomes
  • Screening

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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