Date of Award
College of Nursing
Hypertension is a common diagnosis in the United States and can lead to health complications if not well managed. However, this condition often has few to no symptoms which may lead patients to modify, disregard, or otherwise be non-adherent to treatment plans. Also a patient’s health literacy level may directly affect his or her ability to understand and act on health information. This may be especially true in vulnerable populations such as older adults and underserved communities. In addition, the education material provided to patients, such as clinical summaries following a health visit, may not be consistent or understandable or help the patient put instructions into action. Therefore this project aimed to assess the health literacy level of a group of patients at an underserved, urban clinic. It also aimed to assess the understandability and actionability of the printed clinical summary for the same group of patients. The convenience sample consisted of adult, English-speaking, primarily African American patients diagnosed with hypertension who were between the ages of 24 and 85 with a mean age of 55 years. It was discovered that patient definitions of hypertension vary widely (some not even related to the condition), though the majority of patients described it accurately. Health literacy scores were found to be higher than anticipated based on literature-based assumptions. Also, clinical summaries were found to have a combination of strengths and weaknesses in regard to both understandability and actionability.
Pettenger, Tami, "Health Literacy Assessment and the Meaningful Use Incentive of Providing Clinical Summaries in an Underserved, Hypertensive Population" (2016). Doctoral Projects. 13.