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Health literacy in the urgent care setting: What factors impact consumer comprehension of health information

  • Alberti, Traci L.
  • Morris, Nancy S.
Publication Date
Mar 10, 2017
[email protected]
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BACKGROUND: An increasing number of Americans are using urgent care (UC) clinics due to: improved health insurance coverage, the need to decrease cost, primary care offices with limited appointment availability, and a desire for convenient care. Patients are treated by providers they may not know for episodic illness or injuries while in pain or not feeling well. Treatment instructions and follow-up directions are provided quickly. PURPOSE: To examine health literacy in the adult UC population and identify patient characteristics associated with health literacy risk. METHODS: As part of a larger cross-sectional study, UC patients seen between October 2013 and January 2014 completed a demographic questionnaire and the Newest Vital Sign. Descriptive, nonparametric analyses, and a multinomial logistic regression were done to assess health literacy, associated and predictive factors. RESULTS: A total of 57.5% of 285 participants had adequate health literacy. The likelihood of limited health literacy was associated with increased age (p < .001), less education (p < .001), and lower income (p = .006). CONCLUSIONS/IMPLICATIONS: Limited health literacy is common in a suburban UC setting, increasing the risk that consumers may not understand vital health information. Clear provider communication and confirmation of comprehension of discharge instructions for self-management is essential to optimize outcomes for UC patients.

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