Advancing health literacy: Building bridges March 26, 2008

Advancing health literacy: Building bridges March 26, 2008

Advancing health literacy: Building bridges March 26, 2008 National Institute for Literacy Health Literacy Summit Indianapolis, IN Andrew Pleasant, Ph.D. Dept. of Human Ecology Extension Dept. of Family and Community Health Sciences Health is a resource for life, not the object of living.

Whos here? Health care system? Adult Ed? (all flavors) K-12? Government? Other social service agencies? Foundations? Researchers? You go first For you What questions have come up or remain

unanswered? Things that are difficult to master The Tango How to make a marriage work Health literacy A little background Two original streams of research and practice health care professionals - investigating literacy effects on health and attempting to improve health information materials and physician/nurse communication skills.

adult basic education/ literacy professionals - incorporating health into curricula and community empowerment efforts. Health Literacy Peer-reviewed journal articles by year 120 100 India launches (yet another)

National Total Literacy Campaign 80 60 India NAAL launches (yet another) National

Total Literacy Campaign 40 NALS 20 0 8 19 5

8 19 6 8 19 7 8 19

8 8 19 9 9 19 0 9 19

1 9 19 2 9 19 3 9

19 4 9 19 5 9 19 6

9 19 7 9 19 8 9 19 9

0 20 0 0 20 1 0 20

2 0 20 3 0 20 4 Databases: PUBMED, ISI Web of Science, Academic Search Premier, CINAHL, ECO, Ingenta, Science Direct

Why all this interest here, now? Changing conditions A changing global burden of disease: from communicable diseases and acute conditions to lifestyle-related and chronic conditions. Since the beginning of the 20th century, most major advances in health are due to

the application of new knowledge and technologies (World Bank, 2002). Increasing inequities From 1960-2002 - IF everyone in the U.S. experienced the same health gains as whites in the highest income group, Almost 5,000,000 14% of the premature deathspeople. among whites and

30% of the premature deaths among other racial & ethnic groups would have been prevented. (Krieger et al., 2008) More and more complex interfaces Health information = multiplication of sources Health insurance = complex bureaucracy Part D - over 40 plans in some states

Chronic disease prevention = lifestyle changes Chronic disease treatment = self-management often involving technology Acute issues = doc/ patient communication Medical mistakes = checklists; navigation The U.S. pays more per person and gets less in health than any other high-income industrialized nation Increase health system efficiency University Hospital - Newark, NJ. In 73% (7 of 10) of tasks, students could not find their destination without help from staff. In nearly half (45%) of tasks, students

needed to ask for help from more than one staff member. Looking lost - 3 of 4 attempts walked around a nursing station 6 times w/out help. Nurses worked hard to not see them. Health literacy today Has come a long way in a short time but there is much farther to go. We must change the discourse

about health literacy From a simple concept of fundamental literacy in health. To a complex social determinant of health and an empowerment model Where is the problem with health

literacy? Health literacy of U.S. Adults (NAAL, 2005) 12% 14% 22% 52% Below Basic Basic

Intermediate Proficient PLUS: 3% could NOT be tested 88% of U.S. Adults below Proficient level That is nearly 9 out of every 10 adults! (By the way) Proficient means 12% of participants could generally: Find the information needed to define a medical term in a complex document. Judge information to decide which legal document

applies to a specific health care situation. Calculate an employees share of health insurance costs for a year using a table based on income and family size. income Family size A Mismatch 88% (88 of 100) of the country is below the proficient level in health literacy. Over 300 studies have demonstrated that most

health materials are beyond the comprehension skills of most Americans. An opportunity - A risk Health providers will pay you to simplify materials. Literacy programs should benefit. BUT make it lead to a comprehensive relationship (training, redesign, evaluation) They need your skills, you need their funds .. But what they really need is a change in worldview your students can be the key.

Yesterday 2005 Click here and hope technology works Complexity of health literacy Outcomes are determined the match or mismatch between the: Health literacy skills of individuals & Level of health literacy demanded by the health care system

While we need a literacy boost but we also need a system change. Must look at (and fix) both. A comprehensive definition The wide range of skills and competencies that people develop to seek out, comprehend, evaluate, and use health information and concepts to make informed choices, reduce health risks, reduce inequities in health, and increase quality of life. (Zarcadoolas, Pleasant & Greer, 2003; 2005)

Complex challenges Think of your own health literacy experiences, youll find barriers or bridges based in these four areas (Zarcadoolas et al., 2005, 2006): Fundamental - reading, writing, speaking, numeracy Civic - Understanding & navigating power Scientific - Complexity, change, technology Culture - NOT just race and ethnicity Health literacy in action: A short story

Reading the word and the world (Freire) With health literacy There is a golden rule Know your audience the audience you have (or might) the audience you want Golden rule #2 Dont go it alone -Involve your audience early and often!

Who has cross-sector partners now? If you do .. Email me the details please! [email protected] If you do NOT What barriers are you facing?

After you go home and put the conference folder down . Start talking to .(AND listening to) your local health system your local adult education programs your local university researchers/ partners your local foundations

your local news media your local politicians The first (but not only) challenges Lack of shared vocabulary Patient safety?

Quality improvement? Ambulatory care? NAAL? TABE? ABE/ENL/ESL/ESOL? Capacity to deliver the goods Herding cats Foot in the door strategies for the literacy community

Speak up in public Ask questions (more than 3) Frontal assault via staff (you) Frontal assault via board members Build a coalition get attention and power Find a funder first Propose a solution versus identify a problem Outside expert/ National organization

Water on granite Preparing for your first meeting Learn a new language - be an adult learner Find a local champion Both Tip: You will likely get one chance. You may get two but it seems unlikely you will get a third. Have action plan(s) ready

The opportunities Shared goals are in place already! Better health, reduced equity, improved health system performance. Uniquely complimentary resources You must demonstrate that to people (including yourself) The health care system is steadily being told to do it

E.g. The Joint Commission; Health Literacy Act 2007 Adult learners generally want to do it The long-term payoffs seem greater than the shortterm costs It is the right thing to do. The cautions Do not over promise - you dont have to. Evaluate first, last, and always. Academic partners can help, but do bring bureaucratic baggage. Publish or perish

Define sustainability plan Hint = learning capacity; ability to respond to change Do NOT forget Departments of Public Health Area Health Education Centers Federally Qualified Health Centers Departments of Environmental Health K-12 school system Land Grant/ Extension partners

Remember The biggest problem with communication is the illusion that it has occurred. -George Bernard Shaw Need an example? Informed consent Please share your questions Available at your favorite online book

seller Thank you.

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