It is impossible to anticipate who will have health literacy problems. You can't predict based on a patient's age, gender, profession or income. Doctors themselves may have a poor understanding of their own care when problems arise outside of their specialty.
So what can be done to make sure that basic communication mistakes are avoided- that tragic health literacy related accidents never happen?
Listen to our conversation with AHRQ's Cindy Brach to hear the innovative ways her organization is helping clinicians address this issue.
Click the arrow below to play our conversation with Cindy Brach of AHRQ
Covered in the podcast...
AHRQ has taken a page from blood-handling and created a Universal Precautions Toolkit. This new resource offers 20 actionable steps to make sure everybody has the information needed to make good health decisions, and the tools necessary to take proper health actions.
Taking HCAHPS to the Next Level
AHRQ is now taking its CAHPS program to the next level. It's creating 'CAHPS' surveys for outpatient care and health plans. And now, it's created a CAHPS itemset for health literacy.
Now organizations can learn the underlying reasons behind their HCAHPS scores. Is doctor communication suffering because the doctor she has an accent, is distracted, or doesn't use pictures?
About Cindy Brach
Cindy Brach is a Senior Health Policy Researcher at the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ). She conducts and oversees research on health literacy, cultural and linguistic competence, chronic care management, and Medicaid and SCHIP. Cindy leads AHRQ’s health literacy activities, coordinating AHRQ’s work in developing measures and improving the evidence base, and integrating health literacy activities throughout AHRQ’s portfolios. She serves on the Department of Health and Human Services Health Literacy Work Group and the Institute of Medicine Roundtable on Health Literacy. Cindy is also AHRQ’s point person for cultural competence. Her publications include, “Integrating Health Literacy into Patient Safety Partnerships" (a chapter in the book Partnering with Patients to Reduce Medical Errors), and “Integrating Literacy, Culture, and Language to Improve Quality of Health Care for Diverse Populations.” Cindy received her Master of Public Policy degree from the University of California, Berkeley, where she was also advanced to Ph.D. candidacy.
About Podcast Host Geri Baumblatt
As Editorial Director of Emmi Solutions, Geri looks at healthcare from the patient’s perspective. She helps patients understand complicated medical information so they can take safer, more active roles in their care. Her work includes numerous awards for innovation in patient communication– including the 2007 IHA Health Literacy Award. Geri is also the Engaging the Patient podcast host.