Health Literacy and Consumer-Facing Technology: Workshop Summary

10/2015

The proliferation of consumer-facing technology and personal health information technology has grown steadily over the past decade, and has certainly exploded over the past several years. Many people have embraced smartphones and wearable health-monitoring devices to track their fitness and personal health information. Providers have made it easier for patients and caregivers to access health records and communicate through online patient portals. However, the large volume of health-related information that these devices can generate and input into a health record can also lead to an increased amount of confusion on the part of users and caregivers.

The Institute of Medicine convened a workshop to explore health literate practices in health information technology and then provide and consider the ramifications of this rapidly growing field on the health literacy of users. Health Literacy and Consumer-Facing Technology summarizes the discussions and presentations from this workshop, highlighting the lessons presented, practical strategies, and the needs and opportunities for improving health literacy in consumer-facing technology.

Source: The National Academies Press

Available at: http://www.nap.edu/catalog/21781/health-literacy-and-consumer-facing-technology-workshop-summary

The Well-Visit Planner for Families

7/2015

The Well-Visit Planner for Families

The Well-Visit Planner is an Internet-based tool (www.wellvisitplanner.org) developed to improve well-child care for children 4 months to 6 years of age. Information in this tool is based on recommendations established by the American Academy of Pediatrics Bright Futures: Guidelines for Health Supervision of Infants, Children, and Adolescents, 3rd Edition. The tool helps parents and caregivers to customize the well-child visit to their family’s needs by helping them identify and prioritize their health risks and concerns before the well-child appointment. This means that parents and health care professionals are better able to communicate and address the family’s needs during the well-child visit.

The Well-Visit Planner and Head Start

The Child and Adolescent Health Measurement Initiative (CAHMI) has worked with the Office of Head Start National Center on Health to expand the Well-Visit Planner through age 6 years and has prepared materials to help Head Start and Early Head Start programs use this tool with the families they serve. Knowing that school readiness begins with health, Head Start and Early Head Start programs are committed to supporting the health and well-being of every child enrolled in a program. The Well-Visit Planner has been tested in several programs, and staff have found it helpful for encouraging parents to complete well-child visits and become familiar with what is expected at each visit. The tool also reinforces the role of parents as the experts for their child’s needs—including those related to health.

Using the Well-Visit Planner in Head Start and Early Head Start Programs

In partnership with the National Center on Health, CAHMI has prepared a number of tools and resources to help programs assess their readiness to begin using the Well-Visit Planner as a standard part of their work with parents and children. There is also an implementation toolkit that helps programs with step-by-step implementation of the Well-Visit Planner within the program, including materials to help promote the use of the tool among parents. Materials are also there to help reach out to local health care professionals to help prepare them for the use of the Well-Visit Planner by their patient families.These materials will be housed on the Early Childhood Learning & Knowledge Center but are currently available at http://www.cahmi.org/projects/wvp/, the implementation-portal.

How does the Well-Visit Planner help families?

Completing the tool, which takes about 15 to 20 minutes, will help empower parents and caregivers to identify priorities for a child’s upcoming well-child visit; it will also prepare them for what to expect at that visit. The content of the Well-Visit Planner is different based on the age of the child. It is developed to be used before each well-child visit through age 6 years. The Well-Visit Planner also includes educational materials about topics such as a child’s growth and development, language development, and safety. The educational materials address the topics of most importance for each age.

After parents use the Well-Visit Planner, they can save or print a summary or Visit Guide of the needs and priorities for the visit. They will take this summary with them to help prioritize their time with the child’s pediatrician or primary health care professional. Parents can print a copy to leave with the physician or send a copy prior to the visit if the child’s physician has a secure e-mail address. The summary can also be discussed with the parents and the family service worker and integrated into the family partnership agreement.

Additional Background

The tool was developed and is maintained by CAHMI to engage parents as partners to improve well-child care services as a part of a project supported by the US Department of Health and Human Services, Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), Maternal and Child Health Research Program (R40 MC08959). Continued development and implementation of the Well-Visit Planner is supported by CAHMI and volunteer advisors and through support from HRSA/Maternal and Child Health Bureau through Cooperative Agreement U59-MC06890.

Source: Early Childhood Learning and Knowledge Center, National Center on Health

Available at: http://eclkc.ohs.acf.hhs.gov/hslc/tta-system/health/physical-health/satf/well-visit-planner.html

Health Education Materials for Parents and Staff

3/2015

Explore these low literacy health education materials below. The resources, which include topics such as lead awareness, home safety and injury prevention, and mental health, can be given to both parents and staff. Find useful information and basic tips that parents and staff can easily understand.

Lead Awareness
Lead is toxic to everyone, but unborn babies and young children are at greatest risk for health problems from lead poisoning. Unsafe levels of lead in blood can lead to a wide range of symptoms and can also affect a child’s developing brain. This brochure can be shared with parents and staff to inform them of how to avoid lead exposure.

Home Safety
Young children have the highest risk of being injured at home because that’s where they spend most of their time. The majority of childhood injuries can be predicted and therefore prevented. Supervision is the best way to prevent injuries at home but even the most prepared parents can’t keep kids completely out of harm every second of the day. This brochure can be shared with parents and staff to inform them of how to reduce injuries at home for their children.

Reducing Stress
Stress is a part of life. Yet, too much stress can have negative consequences. Too much stress can cause health problems and can make parenting more difficult. Caregiver stress can even contribute to children’s challenging behavior. This brochure identifies some easy-to-use stress reduction and self-care tips. It can be shared with parents and staff.

Learning about Depression
Parental depression is common and it is particularly common among Early Head Start and Head Start families. Parenting is challenging for every parent, at times; however, for parents experiencing depression it can be extremely difficult. It can be hard for parents experiencing depression to provide responsive, consistent, and sensitive care. When a parent is depressed it increases the risk of his or her child having behavioral, emotional, or cognitive problems. Seeking support to address depression can make a difference in the life of a parent and a child. This brochure can be shared with parents and staff to offer information about depression and strategies to seek support for concerns about depression.

Responding Positively to Your Child’s Behavior
All children misbehave or exhibit challenging behavior sometimes. How a parent responds can make a big difference in how a child develops. Treating a child with kindness and respect helps him or her to treat others with kindness and respect. Parents who nurture themselves and their children are teaching their child positive lifelong skills. This brochure can be shared with parents and staff to provide tips and tools to positively respond to your child’s behavior.

Source: Early Childhood Learning and Knowledge Center, National Center on Health

Available at: http://eclkc.ohs.acf.hhs.gov/hslc/tta-system/health/health-literacy-family-engagement/family-education/low-lit-ed-mat.html

Building Health Literate Organizations: A Guidebook to Achieving Organizational Change

A health literate health care organization is described as easier for people to use, and critical to delivering patient-centered care Ten Attributes of Health Literate Health Care Organizations. It supports patient-provider communication to improve health care quality, reduce errors, facilitate shared decision-making, and improve health outcomes.

This guidebook will help health care organizations of any size engage in organizational change to become health literate. It complements many excellent health literacy resources, helping you use them effectively and reliably. It includes background, resources, examples, and lessons learned to help build a health literate health care organization.

How to Use the Guidebook

The guidebook contains chapters and a case study on key health literacy development areas that intersect with the attributes of health literate health care organizations:

  • Engaging leadership
  • Preparing the workforce
  • The care environment
  • Involving populations served
  • Verbal communication
  • Reader-friendly materials

Each chapter answers these questions:

  • Why? Why do you need to address health literacy issues in this area? Why is it important?
  • What? What would success in this area look like? What are the target outcomes? Success may include changes to process, behavior, and attitudes, as well as health outcomes.
  • How? What tools, resources, and actions will you use to reach the target outcomes?

Start with any chapter. This is not a step-by-step process and there is not one correct starting point. Each chapter relates to the others, but each can stand alone. Each is necessary, but not sufficient, to bring about improvement. Start where you can begin to build a pattern of success. Build to work in more than one area at a time, eventually working in all key areas for results you can sustain.

Source: UnityPoint Health

Available at: http://www.unitypoint.org/health-literacy-guidebook.aspx

Ten Attributes of Health Literate Health Care Organizations

6/2012

This paper describes 10 attributes of health literate health care organizations, that is, health care organizations that make it easier for people to navigate, understand, and use information and services to take care of their health. Having health literate health care organizations benefits not only the 77 million Americans who have limited health literacy, but also the majority of Americans who have difficulty understanding and using currently available health information and health services (ODPHP, 2008).

Source: Institute of Medicine

Available at: http://iom.edu/~/media/Files/Perspectives-Files/2012/Discussion-Papers/BPH_Ten_HLit_Attributes.pdf