Title

Improving Health Literacy for Higher Quality Care with Lower Costs

Date of Award

8-15-2011

Document Type

Capstone Project

Disciplines

Healthcare Leadership

Degree Name

Master of Professional Studies

Department

Healthcare Leadership

Advisor

Donna Kusuda

Keywords

Health Literacy; Patient responsibility; Patient safety; Patient Centered Medical Home; Shared decision-making

Abstract

The healthcare industry is ever changing and evolving. It may be years before there is a solid foundation moving forward. One area that is growing in importance and popularity is patients taking personal responsibility for their healthcare by increasing their health literacy. An increase in health literacy has the potential to increase the quality of care and decrease costs. The three areas of focus for improving health literacy are: 1) educational programs, 2) patient advocacy and safety training and 3) effective communications skills. I will show the relationship of these three areas as it relates to children, current consumers, and providers. Ultimately, I want to demonstrate how integrating these three concepts among these populations will lead to a shared decision-making model within a patient centered medical home by creating a healthcare environment that promotes personal responsibility for our own care by enhancing health literacy for all consumers. The results of the studies reviewed and analyzed show that more research and measureable outcomes are needed to determine how improving health literacy will improve healthcare but there is a common consensus among industry experts that patients taking more personal responsibility for their healthcare decisions will improve the quality of care and reduce costs. Health literacy must be improved in order for patients to assume more responsibility for their own healthcare decisions. Effective communication, training programs, and educational tools are all keys to implementing a successful improvement in health literacy to allow for a shift from a passive informed consent culture to an active engaged patient in a shared-decision making process.

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