Validation of self-reported health literacy questions among diverse English and Spanish-speaking populations.
ABSTRACT: 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:Introduction:Patients with limited English proficiency may be at risk for incomplete history collection, potentially a patient safety issue. While federal law requires qualified medical interpreters be provided for these patients, little is known about the quality of information obtained in these encounters. Our study compared the medical histories obtained by physicians in the emergency department (ED) based on whether the patients primarily spoke English or Spanish. Methods:This was a prospective, observational study conducted at a single, urban, academic ED during a six-month time period. Resident and faculty physicians caring for adult patients with a chief complaint of chest or abdominal pain were eligible for participation. Patient encounters were directly observed by medical students who had been trained using simulated encounters. Observers documented which key historical data points were obtained by providers, including descriptions of pain (location, quality, severity, radiation, alleviating/aggravating factors), past medical/family/surgical history, and social history, in addition to the patient's language in providing history. Providers, interpreters, and observers were blinded to the nature of the study. We used chi-square analyses to examine differences in whether specific elements were collected based on the primary language of the patient. Results:Encounters with 753 patients were observed: 105 Spanish speaking and 648 English speaking. Chi-square analyses found no statistically significant differences in any history questions between Spanish-speaking and English-speaking patients, with the exception that questions regarding alleviating factors were asked more often with Spanish-speaking patients (45%) than English-speaking patients (30%, p=.003). The average percentages of targeted history elements obtained in Spanish and English encounters were 60% and 57%, respectively. Conclusion:In this study at a large, urban, academic ED, the medical histories obtained by physicians were similar between English-speaking and Spanish-speaking patients. This suggests that the physicians sought to obtain medical histories at the same level of detail despite the language barrier. One limitation to consider is the Hawthorne effect; however, providers and observers were blinded to the nature of the study in an attempt to minimize the effect.
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:Importance:Medication adherence is essential to diabetes care. Patient-physician language barriers may affect medication adherence among Latino individuals. Objective:To determine the association of patient race/ethnicity, preferred language, and physician language concordance with patient adherence to newly prescribed diabetes medications. Design, Setting, and Participants:This observational study was conducted from January 1, 2006, to December 31, 2012, at a large integrated health care delivery system with professional interpreter services. Insured patients with type 2 diabetes, including English-speaking white, English-speaking Latino, or limited English proficiency (LEP) Latino patients with newly prescribed diabetes medication. Exposures:Patient race/ethnicity, preferred language, and physician self-reported Spanish-language fluency. Main Outcomes and Measures:Primary nonadherence (never dispensed), early-stage nonpersistence (dispensed only once), late-stage nonpersistence (received ?2 dispensings, but discontinued within 24 months), and inadequate overall medication adherence (>20% time without sufficient medication supply during 24 months after initial prescription). Results:Participants included 21?878 white patients, 5755 English-speaking Latino patients, and 3205 LEP Latino patients with a total of 46?131 prescriptions for new diabetes medications. Among LEP Latino patients, 50.2% (n?=?1610) had a primary care physician reporting high Spanish fluency. For oral medications, early adherence varied substantially: 1032 LEP Latino patients (32.2%), 1565 English-speaking Latino patients (27.2%), and 4004 white patients (18.3%) were either primary nonadherent or early nonpersistent. Inadequate overall adherence was observed in 1929 LEP Latino patients (60.2%), 2975 English-speaking Latino patients (51.7%), and 8204 white patients (37.5%). For insulin, early-stage nonpersistence was 42.8% among LEP Latino patients (n?=?1372), 34.4% among English-speaking Latino patients (n?=?1980), and 28.5% among white patients (n?=?6235). After adjustment for patient and physician characteristics, LEP Latino patients were more likely to be nonadherent to oral medications and insulin than English-speaking Latino patients (relative risks from 1.11 [95% CI, 1.06-1.15] to 1.17 [95% CI, 1.02-1.34]; P?<?.05) or white patients (relative risks from 1.36 [95% CI, 1.31-1.41] to 1.49 [95% CI, 1.32-1.69]; P?<?.05). English-speaking Latino patients were more likely to be nonadherent compared with white patients (relative risks from 1.23 [95% CI, 1.19-1.27] to 1.30 [95% CI, 1.23-1.39]; P?<?.05). Patient-physician language concordance was not associated with rates of nonadherence among LEP Latinos (relative risks from 0.92 [95% CI, 0.71-1.19] to 1.04 [95% CI, 0.97-1.1]; P?>?.28). Conclusions and Relevance:Nonadherence to newly prescribed diabetes medications is substantially greater among Latino than white patients, even among English-speaking Latino patients. Limited English proficiency Latino patients are more likely to be nonadherent than English-speaking Latino patients independent of the Spanish-language fluency of their physicians. Interventions beyond access to interpreters or patient-physician language concordance will be required to improve medication adherence among Latino patients with diabetes.
Project description:Effective communication with primary care physicians is important yet incompletely understood for Spanish-speaking parents. We predicted lower satisfaction among Spanish-speaking compared to English-speaking Latino and non-Latino parents.Cross-sectional analysis at 2-month well visits within the Greenlight study at 4 pediatric resident clinics. Parents reported satisfaction with 14 physician communication items using the validated Communication Assessment Tool (CAT). High satisfaction was defined as "excellent" on each CAT item. Mean estimations compared satisfaction for communication items among Spanish- and English-speaking Latinos and non-Latinos. We used generalized linear regression modeling, adjusted for parent age, education, income, and clinic site. Among Spanish-speaking parents, we compared visits conducted in Spanish with and without an interpreter, and in English.Compared to English-speaking Latino (n = 127) and non-Latino parents (n = 432), fewer Spanish-speaking parents (n = 303) reported satisfaction with 14 communication items. No significant differences were found between English-speaking Latinos and non-Latinos. Greatest differences were found in the use of a greeting that made the parent comfortable (59.4% of Spanish-speaking Latinos endorsing "excellent" vs 77.5% English-speaking Latinos, P < .01) and discussing follow-up (62.5% of Spanish-speaking Latinos vs 79.8% English-speaking Latinos, P < .01). After adjusting for parent age, education, income, and study site, Spanish-speaking Latinos were still less likely to report high satisfaction with these communication items. Satisfaction was not different among Spanish-speaking parents when the physician spoke Spanish versus used an interpreter.Satisfaction with physician communication was associated with language but not ethnicity. Spanish-speaking parents less frequently report satisfaction with communication, and innovative solutions to enhance communication quality are needed.
Project description:Cognitive impairment is frequent in lacunar stroke patients. The prevalence and pattern among Spanish-speaking patients are unknown and have not been compared across regions or with English-speaking patients.The aim of this study was to characterize cognitive impairment in Spanish-speaking patients and compare it with English-speaking patients.The baseline neuropsychological test performance and the prevalence of mild cognitive impairment, defined as a z-score ? -1.5 on memory and/or non-memory tests, were evaluated in Spanish-speaking patients in the Secondary Prevention of Small Subcortical Strokes trial.Out of 3020 participants, 1177 were Spanish-speaking patients residing in Latin America (n?=?693), the United States (n?=?121), and Spain (n?=?363). Low education (zero- to eight-years) was frequent in Spanish-speaking patients (49-57%). Latin American Spanish-speaking patients had frequent post-stroke upper extremity motor impairment (83%). Compared with English-speaking patients, all Spanish-speaking patient groups had smaller memory deficits and larger non-memory/motor deficits, with Latin American Spanish-speaking patients showing the largest deficits median z-score -1.3 to -0.6 non-memory tests; ?5.0 for Grooved Pegboard; -0.7 to -0.3 for memory tests). The prevalence of mild cognitive impairment was high and comparable with English-speaking patients in the United States and Latin American Spanish-speaking patients but not the Spanish group: English-speaking patients?=?47%, Latin American Spanish-speaking patients?=?51%, US Spanish-speaking patients?=?40%, Spanish Spanish-speaking patients?=?29%, with >50% characterized as non-amnestic in Spanish-speaking patient groups. Older age [odds ratio per 10 years?=?1.52, confidence interval?=?1.35-1.71), lower education (odds ratio 0-4 years?=?1.23, confidence interval?=?0.90-1.67), being a Latin American resident (odds ratio?=?1.31, confidence interval?=?0.87-1.98), and post-stroke disability (odds ratio Barthel Index <95?=?1.89, confidence interval?=?1.43-2.50) were independently associated with mild cognitive impairment.Mild cognitive impairment in Secondary Prevention of Small Subcortical Strokes Spanish-speaking patients with recent lacunar stroke is highly prevalent but has a different pattern to that observed in English-speaking patients. A combination of socio-demographics, stroke biology, and stroke care may account for these differences.
Project description:Purpose The purpose of this study is to determine the sensitivities and specificities of different audiometric hearing screening criteria and single-item and multi-item hearing disability questionnaires among a group of Spanish-speaking adults in a rural community. Method Participants were 131 predominantly older (77% 65+ years) Hispanic/Latinx adults (98%). A structured Spanish-language interview and pure-tone threshold test data were analyzed for each participant. The sensitivities and specificities of three single questions and the Hearing Handicap Index for the Elderly-Screening (HHIE-S; Ventry & Weinstein, 1983) in Spanish, as well as three audiometric screening criteria, were evaluated in relation to the pure-tone threshold test for detecting hearing loss. Results Sensitivity and specificity of audiometric screening criteria varied, but the highest sensitivity was found for the criterion of > 25 dB HL at 1-4 kHz in either ear. The single self-perception question, "¿Cree usted que tiene pérdida de audición? (Do you think you have a hearing loss?)," was shown to be the most sensitive self-report screening compared to other single-item questions and the HHIE-S. This single question was as sensitive as an audiometric screening to detect a moderate hearing loss (> 40 dB HL in either ear). Results from the Spanish HHIE-S indicated poor performance to detect hearing loss in this population, consistent with previous research. Conclusions Among older Spanish-speaking adults, self-reported hearing status had varying sensitivities depending on the question asked. However, of the tools evaluated, the self-perception question proved to be a more sensitive and specific tool than a multi-item screen. Objective audiometric testing (> 25 dB HL) resulted in the highest sensitivity to detect a mild hearing loss.
Project description:OBJECTIVES:To develop and validate a Weight Literacy Scale in English and Spanish for adults. METHODS:The two-phase study utilized quantitative and qualitative methods. Phase 1 of the study consisted of developing an initial survey (English and Spanish versions) assessing weight literacy based on a review of the literature; conducting semi-structured interviews with content experts (N = 9) to refine survey items; and conducting in-person cognitive interviews with 20 study participants (N = 10 English-speaking and N = 10 Spanish-speaking adults) for survey pre-testing. Survey items were modified based on Phase 1 findings. Phase 2 consisted of a psychometric study of the Weight Literacy Scale developed in Phase 1. Procedures included administering the Weight Literacy Scale to 200 study participants (N = 100 English-speaking and N = 100 Spanish-speaking adults), a quantitative survey assessing dietary and physical activity behaviors and sociodemographics, measuring participants' height and weight, and assessing the scale's validity and internal reliability. A subset of Phase 2 participants (N = 71) completed the weight literacy scale at two-weeks follow-up to assess test-retest reliability. Participant recruitment and study procedures took place in community settings in central Massachusetts for both study phases. Weight literacy scale scores were calculated as the sum of total correct items. Three rounds of factor analysis were performed to identify items for elimination. The Kuder Richardson's Coefficient of reliability was calculated. Correlations between the Weight Literacy Scale scores and related measures (body mass index and weight status, dietary behaviors, physical activity behaviors, and confidence in filling out medical forms) were examined. RESULTS:The final scale included 31 items and demonstrated strong internal consistency (Kuder Richardson Coefficient = 0.90), reasonable construct validity, and acceptable test-retest reliability (? = 0.72). CONCLUSION:The Weight Literacy Scale is a reliable and valid research instrument to assess weight literacy among English- and Spanish-speaking adults.
Project description:The study was intended to develop and validate a health literacy test, termed the Short Assessment of Health Literacy for Spanish-speaking Adults (SAHLSA), for the Spanish-speaking population.The design of SAHLSA was based on the Rapid Estimate of Adult Literacy in Medicine (REALM), known as the most easily administered tool for assessing health literacy in English. In addition to the word recognition test in REALM, SAHLSA incorporates a comprehension test using multiple-choice questions designed by an expert panel.Validation of SAHLSA involved testing and comparing the tool with other health literacy instruments in a sample of 201 Spanish-speaking and 202 English-speaking subjects recruited from the Ambulatory Care Center at UNC Health Care.With only the word recognition test, REALM could not differentiate the level of health literacy in Spanish. The SAHLSA significantly improved the differentiation. Item response theory analysis was performed to calibrate the SAHLSA and reduce the instrument to 50 items. The resulting instrument, SAHLSA-50, was correlated with the Test of Functional Health Literacy in Adults, another health literacy instrument, at r=0.65. The SAHLSA-50 score was significantly and positively associated with the physical health status of Spanish-speaking subjects (p<.05), holding constant age and years of education. The instrument displayed good internal reliability (Cronbach's alpha=0.92) and test-retest reliability (Pearson's r=0.86).The new instrument, SAHLSA-50, has good reliability and validity. It could be used in the clinical or community setting to screen for low health literacy among Spanish speakers.
Project description:BACKGROUND: We ascertained the degree to which language (English versus Spanish), and residence time in the US influence responses to survey questions concerning two topics: self-reported acculturation status, and recent physical activity (PA). This topic is likely to be of general interest because of growing numbers of immigrants in countries worldwide. METHODS: We carried out qualitative (cognitive) interviews of survey items on acculturation and physical activity on 27 Latino subjects from three groups: (a) In Spanish, of those of low residence time (less than five years living in the U.S.) (n = 9); (b) In Spanish, of those of high residence time (15 or more years in the U.S) (n = 9); and (c) in English, of those of high residence time (n = 9). RESULTS: There were very few language translation problems; general question design defects and socio-cultural challenges to survey responses were more common. Problems were found for both acculturation and PA questions, with distinct problem types for the two question areas. Residence time/language group was weakly associated with overall frequency of problems observed: low residence time/Spanish (86%), high residence time/Spanish (67%), and English speaking groups (62%). CONCLUSIONS: Standardized survey questions related to acculturation and physical activity present somewhat different cognitive challenges. For PA related questions, problems with such questions were similar regardless of subject residence time or language preference. For acculturation related questions, residence time/language or education level influenced responses to such questions. These observations should help in the interpretation of survey results for culturally diverse populations.
Project description:BACKGROUND:In the United States, language barriers pose challenges to communication in emergency response and impact emergency care delivery and quality for individuals who are limited English proficient (LEP). There is a growing interest among Emergency Medical Services (EMS) personnel in using automated translation tools to improve communications with LEP individuals in the field. However, little is known about whether automated translation software can be used successfully in EMS settings to improve communication with LEP individuals. OBJECTIVE:The objective of this work is to use scenario-based methods with EMS providers and nonnative English-speaking users who identified themselves as LEP (henceforth referred to as LEP participants) to evaluate the potential of two automated translation technologies in improving emergency communication. METHODS:We developed mock emergency scenarios and enacted them in simulation sessions with EMS personnel and Spanish-speaking and Chinese-speaking (Mandarin) LEP participants using two automated language translation tools: an EMS domain-specific fixed-sentence translation tool (QuickSpeak) and a statistical machine translation tool (Google Translate). At the end of the sessions, we gathered feedback from both groups through a postsession questionnaire. EMS participants also completed the System Usability Scale (SUS). RESULTS:We conducted a total of 5 group sessions (3 Chinese and 2 Spanish) with 12 Chinese-speaking LEP participants, 14 Spanish-speaking LEP participants, and 17 EMS personnel. Overall, communications between EMS and LEP participants remained limited, even with the use of the two translation tools. QuickSpeak had higher mean SUS scores than Google Translate (65.3 vs 48.4; P=.04). Although both tools were deemed less than satisfactory, LEP participants showed preference toward the domain-specific system with fixed questions (QuickSpeak) over the free-text translation tool (Google Translate) in terms of understanding the EMS personnel's questions (Chinese 11/12, 92% vs 3/12, 25%; Spanish 12/14, 86% vs 4/14, 29%). While both EMS and LEP participants appreciated the flexibility of the free-text tool, multiple translation errors and difficulty responding to questions limited its usefulness. CONCLUSIONS:Technologies are emerging that have the potential to assist with language translation in emergency response; however, improvements in accuracy and usability are needed before these technologies can be used safely in the field.