The Demographic Assessment for Health Literacy (DAHL): a new tool for estimating associations between health literacy and outcomes in national surveys.
ABSTRACT: OBJECTIVE: To impute limited health literacy from commonly measured socio-demographic data and to compare it to the Short-Test of Functional Health Literacy in Adults (S-TOFHLA) for estimating the influence of limited health literacy on health status in the elderly. METHODS: The Prudential Medicare Study assesses the S-TOFHLA score, leading to a "reference standard" classification of 25% of people with inadequate literacy; the National Health Interview Survey has no such assessment. We estimated a regression of S-TOFHLA on sex, age, years of schooling, and race/ethnicity in The Prudential Medicare Study data to derive a Demographic Assessment for Health Literacy (DAHL) score, and imputed inadequate literacy to the 25% with the lowest DAHL scores. Using regression, we then examined associations between several health status measures (including hypertension, diabetes, physical and mental SF-12) and inadequate literacy (imputed or test-based). RESULTS: Estimates of association using imputed inadequate literacy closely approximate those obtained using S-TOFHLA-based inadequate literacy for most outcomes examined. CONCLUSIONS: As few population surveys measure health literacy, the DAHL, a readily calculated health literacy proxy score, may be useful for expanding the scope of health literacy research in national survey data.
Project description:Background:Health literacy is an essential predictor of health status, disease control and adherence to medications. Objectives:The study goals were to assess the health literacy level of the general population in Saudi Arabia using translated Gulf Arabic version of the short-version of the Test of Functional Health Literacy in Adults (S-TOFHLA) and Single Item Literacy Screener (SILS) tests and to measure the relationship between health literacy and education level. Methods:The study was a cross-sectional with a convenience sample of 123 participants from the general population in Riyadh. Data were collected using the modified (Gulf) Arabic versions of both S-TOFHLA and SILS. Fisher's Exact test was used to measure the difference of the health literacy scores according to the education degrees and Cronbach's alpha was used to measure the internal consistency of the S-TOFHLA items. Results:More than half (55.4%) of the participants were male, 50.4% had a middle school or less education level, and we found that 84.4% had adequate health literacy as measured by the S-TOFHLA, compared to 49.6% as measured by SILS. The Fisher's Exact test showed a significant difference (P<.05) in the S-TOFHLA and SILS scores according to education categories. Conclusions:The level of education has a significant positive association with S-TOFHLA and SILS results. The Gulf Arabic version of S-TOFHLA is a reliable test with a good internal consistency and a significant positive correlation between the two parts of S-TOFHLA. We recommend the use of S-TOFHLA or SILS at the first patient visit.
Project description:The objective was to evaluate the diagnostic accuracy of five health literacy screening instruments in emergency department (ED) patients: the Rapid Evaluation of Adult Literacy in Medicine-Revised (REALM-R), the Newest Vital Sign (NVS), Single Item Literacy Screens (SILS), health numeracy, and physician gestalt. A secondary objective was to evaluate the feasibility of these instruments as measured by administration time, time on task, and interruptions during test administration.This was a prospective observational cross-sectional study of a convenience sampling of adult patients presenting during March 2011 and February 2012 to one urban university-affiliated ED. Subjects were consenting non-critically ill, English-speaking patients over the age of 18 years without aphasia, dementia, mental retardation, or inability to communicate. The diagnostic test characteristics of the REALM-R, NVS, SILS, health numeracy, and physician gestalt were quantitatively assessed by using the short Test of Functional Health Literacy in Adults (S-TOFHLA). A score of 22 or less was the criterion standard for limited health literacy (LHL).A total of 435 participants were enrolled, with a mean (±SD) age of 45 (±15.7) years, and 18% had less than a high school education. As defined by an S-TOFHLA score of 22 or less, the prevalence of LHL was 23.9%. In contrast, the NVS, REALM-R, and physician gestalt identified 64.8, 48.5, and 35% of participants as LHL, respectively. A normal NVS screen was the most useful test to exclude LHL, with a negative likelihood ratio of 0.04 (95% confidence interval [CI] = 0.01 to 0.17). When abnormal, none of the screening instruments, including physician gestalt, significantly increased the posttest probability of LHL. The NVS and REALM-R require 3 and 5 minutes less time to administer than the S-TOFHLA. Administration of the REALM-R is associated with fewer test interruptions.One-quarter of these ED patients had marginal or inadequate health literacy. Among the brief screening instruments evaluated, a normal NVS result accurately reduced the probability of LHL, although it will identify two-thirds of ED patients as high risk for LHL. None of the brief screening instruments significantly increases the probability of LHL when abnormal.
Project description:The intent of the study was to develop and validate a comparable health literacy test for Spanish-speaking and English-speaking populations.The design of the instrument, named the Short Assessment of Health Literacy-Spanish and English (SAHL-S&E), combined a word recognition test, as appearing in the Rapid Estimate of Adult Literacy in Medicine (REALM), and a comprehension test using multiple-choice questions designed by an expert panel. We used the item response theory (IRT) in developing and validating the instrument.Validation of SAHL-S&E involved testing and comparing the instrument with other health literacy instruments in a sample of 201 Spanish-speaking and 202 English-speaking subjects recruited from the Ambulatory Care Center at the University of North Carolina Healthcare System.Based on IRT analysis, 18 items were retained in the comparable test. The Spanish version of the test, SAHL-S, was highly correlated with other Spanish health literacy instruments, Short Assessment of Health Literacy for Spanish-Speaking Adults (r=0.88, p<.05) and the Spanish Test of Functional Health Literacy in Adults (TOFHLA) (r=0.62, p<.05). The English version, SAHL-E, had high correlations with REALM (r=0.94, p<.05) and the English TOFHLA (r=0.68, p<.05). Significant correlations were found between SAHL-S&E and years of schooling in both Spanish- and English-speaking samples (r=0.15 and 0.39, respectively). SAHL-S&E displayed satisfactory reliability of 0.80 and 0.89 in the Spanish- and English-speaking samples, respectively. IRT analysis indicated that the SAHL-S&E score was highly reliable for individuals with a low level of health literacy.The new instrument, SAHL-S&E, has good reliability and validity. It is particularly useful for identifying individuals with low health literacy and could be used to screen for low health literacy among Spanish and English speakers.
Project description:Spanish speakers in the United States are in need of effective interventions that address both cardiovascular disease (CVD) and health literacy. However, the literature lacks interventions that have used and evaluated a strategies that focus on both, particularly at the community level. The aim of this study was to explore the effect of a health literacy curriculum on cardiovascular health behavior among Spanish speaking adults. It used a randomized controlled pre-posttest design. Participants included Hispanic adults with a low-to-intermediate level of English proficiency. The intervention group received the health literacy and English as a second language (ESL) Curriculum with CVD specific content, while the control group received a conventional ESL curriculum. Tools included the Spanish Cardiovascular Health Questionnaire (CSC), the test of functional health literacy in adults (TOFHLA), and the Combined English Language Skills Assessment. Analysis of change scores included independent sample t test and multiple linear regression. A total of 155 participants completed the study. There was a significant greater improvement for the intervention group in change of CSC score from pretest to posttest (P?=?0.049) compared to controls. The study also found significantly improved TOFHLA (P?=?0.011), however it did not find a relationship between changes in CVD behavior and health literacy or English proficiency. The Health Literacy and ESL Curriculum constitutes a valuable resource for addressing the cardiovascular health, literacy, and language needs of Spanish-speaking adults. Interventions that take a multilevel education and health approach may be more effective in addressing the needs of immigrants. Research should further explore the interactions between CVD behavior, health literacy, and English proficiency.
Project description:Limited health literacy (HL) contributes to poor health outcomes and disparities, and direct measurement is often time-intensive. Self-reported HL questions have not been validated among Spanish-speaking and diverse English-speaking populations.To evaluate three self-reported questions: 1 "How confident are you filling out medical forms?"; 2 "How often do you have problems learning about your medical condition because of difficulty understanding written information?"; and 3 "How often do you have someone help you read hospital materials?" Answers were based on a 5-point Likert scale.This was a validation study nested within a trial of diabetes self-management support in the San Francisco Department of Public Health.English and Spanish-speaking adults with type 2 diabetes receiving primary care.Using the Test of Functional Health Literacy in Adults (s-TOFHLA) in English and Spanish as the reference, we classified HL as inadequate, marginal, or adequate. We calculated the C-index and test characteristics of the three questions and summative scale compared to the s-TOFHLA and assessed variations in performance by language, race/ethnicity, age, and education.Of 296 participants, 48% were Spanish-speaking; 9% were White, non-Hispanic; 47% had inadequate HL and 12% had marginal HL. Overall, 57% reported being confident with forms "somewhat" or less. The "confident with forms" question performed best for detecting inadequate (C-index = 0.82, (0.77-0.87)) and inadequate plus marginal HL (C index = 0.81, (0.76-0.86); p<0.01 for differences from other questions), and performed comparably to the summative scale. The "confident with forms" question and scale also performed best across language, race/ethnicity, educational attainment, and age.A single self-reported HL question about confidence with forms and a summative scale of three questions discriminated between Spanish and English speakers with adequate HL and those with inadequate and/or inadequate plus marginal HL. The "confident with forms" question or the summative scale may be useful for estimating HL in clinical research involving Spanish-speaking and English-speaking, chronically-ill, diverse populations.
Project description:To determine 1) the extent to which paper-based and computer-based environments influence the sufficiency of parents' report of child behaviors and the accuracy of data on current medications, and 2) the impact of parents' health literacy on the quality of information produced.We completed a randomized controlled trial of data entry tasks with parents of children with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). Parents completed the NICHQ Vanderbilt ADHD screen and a report of current ADHD medications on paper or using a computer application designed to facilitate data entry. Literacy was assessed by the Test of Functional Health Literacy in Adults (TOFHLA). Primary outcomes included sufficient data to screen for ADHD subtypes and accurate report of total daily dose of prescribed ADHD medications.Of 271 parents screened, 194/271 were eligible and 182 were randomized. Data from 180 parents were analyzed. 5.6% parents had inadequate/marginal TOFHLA scores. Using the computer, parents provided more sufficient and accurate data compared to paper (sufficiency for ADHD screening, paper vs. computer: 87.8% vs. 93.3%, P = 0.20; accuracy of medication report: 14.3% vs. 69.4%; p<0.0001). Parents with adequate literacy had increased odds of reporting sufficient and accurate data (sufficiency for ADHD screening: OR 8.0, 95% CI 2.0-32.1; accuracy of medication report: OR 4.4, 95% CI 0.5-37.4). In adjusted models, the computer task environment remained a significant predictor of accurate medication report (OR 18.7, 95% CI 7.5-46.9).Structured, computer-based data entry by parents may improve the quality of specific types of information needed for ADHD care. Health literacy affects parents' ability to share valid information.
Project description:Health care systems increasingly rely on patients' data entry efforts to organize and assist in care delivery through health information exchange.We sought to determine (1) the variation in burden imposed on parents by data entry efforts across paper-based and computer-based environments, and (2) the impact, if any, of parents' health literacy on the task burden.We completed a randomized controlled trial of parent-completed data entry tasks. Parents of children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) were randomized based on the Test of Functional Health Literacy in Adults (TOFHLA) to either a paper-based or computer-based environment for entry of health information on their children. The primary outcome was the National Aeronautics and Space Administration Task Load Index (TLX) total weighted score.We screened 271 parents: 194 (71.6%) were eligible, and 180 of these (92.8%) constituted the study cohort. We analyzed 90 participants from each arm. Parents who completed information tasks on paper reported a higher task burden than those who worked in the computer environment: mean (SD) TLX scores were 22.8 (20.6) for paper and 16.3 (16.1) for computer. Assignment to the paper environment conferred a significant risk of higher task burden (F(1,178) = 4.05, P = .046). Adequate literacy was associated with lower task burden (decrease in burden score of 1.15 SD, P = .003). After adjusting for relevant child and parent factors, parents' TOFHLA score (beta = -.02, P = .02) and task environment (beta = .31, P = .03) remained significantly associated with task burden.A tailored computer-based environment provided an improved task experience for data entry compared to the same tasks completed on paper. Health literacy was inversely related to task burden.
Project description:OBJECTIVE:Health literacy has been related to health-related conditions and health outcomes. Studies examining the association of health literacy and anticoagulation have had variable results. We sought to investigate the relations of health literacy and percentage of time in therapeutic range (TTR) in a vulnerable Brazilian cohort at two hospital-based anticoagulation clinics. METHODS:We measured health literacy with the Short Assessment of Health Literacy for Portuguese-speaking Adults (SAHLPA-18) in 2015-2016. We identified the demographic and clinical characteristics associated with health literacy and related health literacy to TTR. RESULTS:We enrolled 422 adults prescribed chronic warfarin therapy in our observational study (median age 62.1 years; 58.8% women; monthly income $200.00). The prevalence of inadequate health literacy (score 0-14 points) was 72.3% with a median score of 12 (quartiles, Q1=10; Q3=15) on the SAHLPA-18. The median TTR was 66.1%. In the multivariable logistic analysis, cognitive impairment and assistance with taking warfarin were associated with inadequate health literacy. Prosthetic heart valves and more school years were associated with adequate health literacy. Our analyses showed no significant relation between health literacy and TTR, analysing health literacy as a categorical (adjusted OR 1.05; 95% CI 0.65 to 1.70) or continuous variable (Spearman's coefficient 0.02; p=0.70). CONCLUSIONS:Inadequate health literacy was highly prevalent in this impoverished Brazilian cohort receiving anticoagulation with warfarin. However, we did not identify an association between health literacy and TTR. Future investigations may consider the systemic factors that contribute towards successful anticoagulation outcomes for vulnerable patient cohorts with inadequate health literacy.
Project description:Deaf and hard-of-hearing (D/HH) adults have lower health literacy compared to hearing adults, but it is unclear whether this disparity also occurs in adolescence. We used the Health Literacy Skills Instrument-Short Form (HLSI-SF), Short Form of the Test of Functional Health Literacy in Adults (S-TOFHLA), Comprehensive Heart Disease Knowledge Questionnaire (CHDKQ), and newly constructed interactive and critical health literacy survey items to quantify D/HH and hearing adolescents' health literacy. We adapted and translated survey materials into sign language and spoken English to reduce testing bias due to variable English language skills. Participants were 187 D/HH and 94 hearing college-bound high school students. When we adjusted for age, gender, race/ethnicity, school grade, and socioeconomic status, D/HH adolescents demonstrated weaker general and functional health literacy and cardiovascular health knowledge than hearing adolescents on the HLSI, S-TOFHLA, and CHDKQ (all ps < .0001). Standard health literacy or knowledge scores were associated with several interactive and critical health literacy skills (all ps < .05). D/HH adolescents who reported greater hearing-culture identity, having hearing aids, experiencing better hearing with assistive devices, having good quality of communication with parents, and attending hearing schools at least half of the time had higher functional health literacy (all ps < .025). Those who reported English as their best language and attending hearing schools at least half of the time had higher cardiovascular health knowledge scores (all ps < .03). Results suggest that interventions to improve D/HH adolescents' health literacy should target their health-related conversations with their families; access to printed health information; and access to health information from other people, especially health care providers and educators.
Project description:BACKGROUND: Health literacy is associated with important outcomes among patients with kidney disease, but widely used measures of health literacy can be burdensome. In an effort to make a practical assessment available, we compared the performance of the three-item brief health literacy screen (BHLS) to other widely used measures of health literacy among patients with end-stage renal disease (ESRD). METHODS: Adult hemodialysis patients (n = 150) from four urban dialysis facilities participated in a cross-sectional study from 2009 to 2012. Three health literacy measures were administered including (i) the rapid estimate of adult literacy in medicine (REALM), (ii) the short test of functional health literacy in adults (S-TOFHLA) and (iii) the three-item BHLS. The mini-mental state exam assessed cognitive status, and the chronic hemodialysis knowledge survey (CHeKS) and perceived kidney disease knowledge survey (PiKS) assessed kidney knowledge. Spearman's ?s and area under the receiver-operating curves examined relationships between the aforementioned variables. RESULTS: Participants had received dialysis for a mean of 4.6 years. They were 49% female, 73% African American and averaged 52 years of age. Less education and less cognitive capacity were each associated (P < 0.05) with lower health literacy for all three health literacy measures. Performance on the BHLS was significantly associated with the REALM [0.35 (95% confidence interval (95% CI): 0.20-0.49); P < 0.001] and S-TOFHLA [0.49 (95% CI: 0.35-0.69); P < 0.001], the CHeKS [0.43 (95% CI: 0.28-0.55); P < 0.001] and PiKS [0.41 (95% CI: 0.27-0.54); P < 0.001]. CONCLUSIONS: The BHLS demonstrates evidence of construct validity among ESRD patients. Furthermore, health literacy was associated with kidney knowledge, supporting it as a potential intervention target to improve outcomes among patients with lower health literacy.