Health Literacy Lab Assignment – Directions
In 1998, the AMA (American Medical Association) became the first national medical organization to adopt a policy recognizing that limited patient literacy affects medical diagnosis and treatment. It is important that we, as future healthcare professionals, understand this concept and learn how to recognize this problem in our patients and identify steps we can take to help them.
What is health literacy?
“Health literacy is the ability to obtain, process and understand basic health information and services needed to make appropriate health decisions and follow instructions for treatment. A recent government study estimates that over 89 million American adults have limited health literacy skills. Studies also show that people from all ages, races, income, and education levels are challenged by this problem. Individuals with limited health literacy incur medical expenses that are up to four times greater than patients with adequate literacy skills, costing the healthcare system billions of dollars every year in unnecessary doctor visits and hospital stays. Compounding the problem is the fact that most patients hide their confusion from their doctors because they are too ashamed and intimidated to ask for help.” Resource: American Medical Association
For this assignment you need to view these resources:
● America’s Health Literacy (some basic information) – https://health.gov/our-work/health-literacy
● Health Literacy and Patient Safety: Helping patients understand: (great video) https://ensemble.sinclair.edu/Watch/x5NWp9o8
For this assignment you are going to learn how to check reading literacy levels and will work on rewriting information on some common health issues to reduce readability scores to 6th grade level or lower.
This is a deceptively DIFFICULT ASSIGNMENT-leave yourself plenty of time to complete. Using the readability site is not difficult but you need to make sure you find the CORRECT reading level. Use the pictures included below to help you. This assignment is much more difficult than it appears for most students. The majority of your grade is based on getting your reading level 6.99 or lower. This often takes many rewrites. The Health Literacy and Patient Safety video above gives good suggestions on how to approach breaking down the information. Make sure you watch the video (it’s a real “eye opener”).
Pick ONE of the following diseases:
● COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease)
● CHF (Congestive Heart Failure)
● Heart Attack
● Hepatitis C
● HPV (Human Papillomavirus)
● MRSA (Methicillin Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus)
● Streptococcal Infections
To do the research on your disease, use the following website (NOTE: This does link you out to other sites and it is okay to use information from a site that was linked to the MedlinePlus site – this is an EXCELLENT, reliable site for health information.)
MedlinePlus – http://medlineplus.gov
Next you need to learn to check ‘readability levels’ of written materials. There are several different online tools that you can use. For this class we are going to use
● Readability-Score – http://www.online-utility.org/english/readability_test_and_improve.jsp
To use this site, you copy and paste your information into the text box and click on process text.
The site will automatically review the content. You will specifically want to look at these two scores (which will show up on the right)
● Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level
● Flesch-Kincaid Reading Ease
If you are having trouble getting your text to the correct reading level (or lower) look under where it says “List of sentences which we suggest you should consider to rewrite to improve readability of text:”. Then work on these sentences to help get your scores where you need them.
Once your research is done and you have a general understanding of the disease you chose and how to use the Readability-Score site, it is time to write:
● 1″ margins
● 12 point font
● Course and section
You will be putting the word count at the END of each section (see below). Headings/labels do NOT count as part of word count.
Body (please include headings given below):
Describe the disease to your patient: minimum 75 words (Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level: ___) (word count ___)
Describe the diagnosis and symptoms: minimum 75 words (Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level: ___) (word count ___)
Describe the treatment: minimum 75 words (Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level: ___) (word count ___)
Flesch-Kincaid Reading Ease: (and then put the score)
You need to make sure that once you have finished your writing assignment, you go into the readability program and check the GRADE LEVEL. You are trying to get EACH INDIVIDUAL section at a 6th grade reading level or lower (this would be 6.9 or lower)! PUT the GRADE LEVEL at the END of EACH section as shown above.
Finally find the Reading Ease score for the ENTIRE assignment (without headings, the Flesch-Kincaid reading levels and word counts). You are trying to get the overall reading ease to be 70 or higher. At the very end of your assignment (as shown above) put:
● Flesch-Kincaid Reading Ease: (and then put the score)
Once you are finished, submit to the dropbox in .rtf, .doc or .docx format ONLY. This assignment is worth 15 pts.