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National Academies Press


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Research conducted over the past two decades has shown that poor patient understanding of medication instructions is an important contributor to the more than 1 million medication errors and adverse drug events that lead to office and emergency room visits, hospitalizations, and even death. Patients who have limited literacy skills, who have multiple comorbidities, and who are elderly face the greatest risk, and limited literacy skills are significantly associated with inadequate understanding and use of prescription instructions and precautions. The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality notes that only 12 percent of U.S. adults have proficient health literacy that allows them to interpret a prescription label correctly.

Given the importance of health literacy to the proper use of medications, and the apparent lack of progress in improving medication adherence, the Roundtable on Health Literacy formed an ad hoc committee to plan and conduct a 1-day public workshop that featured invited presentations and discussion of the role and challenges regarding clarity of communication on medication. Participants focused on using health literacy principles to address clarity of materials, decision aids, and other supportive tools and technologies regarding risks, benefits, alternatives, and health plan coverage. This publication summarizes the presentations and discussions from the workshop.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780309461856
Publisher: National Academies Press
Publication date: 10/08/2017
Pages: 124
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x (d)

Table of Contents

Acronyms and Abbreviations xvii

1 Introduction and Workshop Overview 1

Organization of the Proceedings 3

2 Patient and Caregiver Perspectives 5

Discussion 11

3 Approaches to Health-Literate Medication Instructions 17

An Overview of Research on Written Communications 17

The Role of Human Factors Engineering 21

Human-Centered Design 24

Discussion 28

4 Translating Research Into Practice: Case Studies 35

Adopting an Easy-to-Read Medication Label in Wisconsin 36

Including Individuals with Low Health Literacy in the Development and Testing of Patient Labeling 40

Project Red: Engaging Patients in Medication Management at Hospital Discharge 44

Planning for Non-English-Speaking Patients 50

Reactor Panel Comments 57

Discussion 61

5 Exploring The Future of Health-Literate Design 67

Written Materials in the Digital Space 67

Legal Considerations in Applying Health Literacy Principles to Written Communication 71

Moving Forward in Written Communications Research 74

Discussion 79

6 Reflections on The Day 85

References 89


A Workshop Agenda 93

B Biographical Sketches of Workshop Speakers, Moderators, and Reactors 97

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