The New Yorker has an interesting article on how doctors giving bad news, including advising behavior change, decreases patient satisfaction even when it’s in the patient’s best interest.
A recent study examined patient satisfaction among more than fifty thousand patients over a seven-year period, and two findings were notable. The first was that the most satisfied patients incurred the highest costs. The second was that the most satisfied patients had the highest rates of mortality.
This shows up even more in the context of end of life care and terminal illness:
The disconnect between patients’ understanding of disease and their satisfaction with physicians is particularly pronounced for care at the end of life. In a recent study published in the New England Journal of Medicine, oncologists studied patients’ expectations of chemotherapy options. For these patients, with either end-stage colon or lung cancer, chemotherapy may provide some help, but it can also be toxic, and definitely doesn’t provide a cure. Doctors know this, but do patients?
Health Literacy: Improving Health, Health Systems, and Health Policy Around the World: Workshop Summary (2013)
Authors: Lyla M. Hernandez, Rapporteur; Roundtable on Health Literacy; Board on Population Health and Public Health Practice; Institute of Medicine
Description: The roots of health literacy can be traced back to the national literacy movement in India under Gandhi and to aid groups working in Africa to promote education and health. The term health literacy was first used in 1974 and described as “health education meeting minimal standards for all school grade levels”. From that first use the definition of health literacy evolved during the next 30 years with official definitions promulgated by government agencies and large programs. Despite differences among these definitions, they all hold in common the idea that health literacy involves the need for people to understand information that helps them
The College of Nursing and Health Professions, Arkansas State University, launched a Health Literacy initiative throughout the College in 2013. An education session was offered to faculty reviewing the concept, current data, toolkits available, and research opportunities. An educational module on Health Literacy of similar content will be offered in the Fall for all students in health profession disciplines to be introduced during their first clinical class or immediately prior. This promotion of Health Literacy education will provide an opportunity for faculty research to measure the effects of additional Health Literacy education efforts. In addition, it will provide information on needed elements in the curriculum. Guiding the planning of this Health Literacy focus, a pilot project was conducted with Graduate Nursing students in 2011-12 and presented at the International Conference on Teaching and Learning in 2012. Results identified a need for improved communication in practicing RNs and the need for strategies to improve health literacy. Continue reading