Effect of Health Literacy and Web Use On Patient Education In Health Care And Nursing Education

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 Patient Education In Health Care And Nursing Education and Effect of Health Literacy and Web Use

Effect of Health Literacy and Web Use On Patient Education In Health Care And Nursing Education

What Is Health Literacy,Effect of Health Literacy On Health Education,Value of Web Based Learning In Health Education In Nursing.

What Is Health Literacy

    Basic statistics about health literacy have been understood for some while that one in five American adults has low literacy skills with another 27% at marginal literacy. Health literacy is the ability to read, understand, and act on health information including such tasks as understanding prescription labels, interpreting appointment slips, completing health insurance forms, and following instructions for diagnostic tests. 

Effect of Health Literacy On Health Education

    Functional health literacy may be significantly worse than one's general literacy (Andrus & Roth, 2002) and is twice as common for Americans greater than 65 years of age and among inner city minorities (Davis, Williams, Marin, Parker, & Glass, 2002) .

    What is becoming clearer is a greater impact of low health literacy. These individuals are at great risk of misunderstanding diagnosis, directions for administering drugs, and self care instructions (Andrus & Roth, 2002). Cancer care, for example, now contains more options of greater complexity including complex management of symptoms from chemotherapy. 

    Health literacy may be an important predictor of increased cancer risk and poor participation in cancer control programs, Individuals of lower health literacy were significantly less likely to have an undetectable HIV viral load and were somewhat less likely to know their CD4 cell count and viral load, or to understand its meaning. 

    Lower health literacy was also related to misperceptions that individuals on anti-HIV treatments can relax safer-sex practices (Kalichman, Benotsch, Suarez, Catz, Miller, & Rompa, 2000).

    Low literacy also decreases ability to meet ethical standards and generate research knowledge for poor and vulnerable populations. More than 60% of individuals with low literacy could not understand a standard informed consent document. Current Internet formats are not suitable for audiences with low literacy skills. 

    Many research instruments are not usable for individuals with low literacy and may involve their leaving items blank or providing inconsistent explanations for the meaning of items, increasing error variance in subject responses, Low literacy subjects may require more time to complete a battery of study instruments, increasing subject burden (Kimble et al., 2001).

    Language simplification has been the principal technique used to make written materials more understandable and useful for people with low literacy skills. Video and audiotapes are effective but require that listeners remember the messages, thus limiting their usefulness to simple, important ideas. 

    Pictographs (drawings representing instructions) are effective but require taking time to teach their meaning (Houts, Witmer, Egeth, Loscalzo, & Zabora, 2001).

Value of Web Based Learning In Health Education In Nursing

    Much has been made about misinformation on the Web, which lessens its value as a medium for learning. Butler and Foster's (2003) survey of 60 Web sites about back pain found many were established to sell expensive products or benefits of particular treatments or surgical procedures. 

    Twenty three percent of the sites surveyed recommended bed rest, a treatment no longer a part of evidence-based practice guidelines. Other uses of the Web include List serves and chat rooms for individuals who may, for example, be undergoing a bone marrow transplant. 

    While the technology provides support for caregivers who cannot leave home, it can also include people who pose as cancer survivors and can leave some emotionally fragile survivors at risk of being victimized (Sharp, 2000). 

    A more positive use of the Web is to provide professionally available just in time education for patients and family members managing symptoms after a procedure. For example, Goldsmith and Safran (1999) completed a randomized controlled trial of patient access to pain management information on an ambulatory surgery website. 

    More and more patients have complex surgical procedures on an outpatient basis; assisting these patients with their own care has become very important. Following such surgery, inadequate postoperative pain management is a common reason for unplanned hospital admissions. 

    Patients often need to clarify information at a time when clinical staff may not be available. The trial showed significantly less postoperative pain among those using the Web based instructions than among those given usual care. Web-based instruction must be closely monitored for quality.

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