The Effect of Gastrointestinal Patients’ Health Literacy Levels on Gastrointestinal Patients’ Health Outcomes

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Background: Health literacy has become a serious issue in the US healthcare system. At least half of American adults do not understand the complex medical communications used in the delivery of care, which leads to negative consequences on care quality, disparities, and costs. Furthermore, it can potentially have a negative effect on patients’ health outcomes, since inadequate health literacy can make it difficult for patients to manage their medical issues. With digestive disorders being one of the most common ailments facing Americans, it is believed that examining health literacy levels of gastro-intestinal patients is crucial. Therefore, the aim of this study is to investigate the effect of gastrointestinal patients’ health literacy levels on their health outcomes. Methods: Two main data sources were used to collect the data. First, 589 gastrointestinal patients who received surgical care at a select university hospital took the BRIEF Health Literacy Screening Tool (BRIEF) survey to measure their health literacy levels. Second, patients’ demographic information and medical outcomes were gathered through the Business Objects. Multivariate analyses were then conducted to examine the relationship between patients’ health literacy levels on their health outcomes. Results: The results of the study show that gastrointestinal patients’ health literacy levels are negatively associated with their health outcomes (hospital length of stay, readmission, and complication). Conclusions: Findings of the research indicate that patients’ health outcomes can potentially be enhanced as more emphasis gets put on improving patients’ health literacy levels.


85115344722 (Scopus)




AME Publishing

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Journal of Hospital Management and Health Policy