Thursday, September 27, 2007

Making a Bottom-Line Case for Health Literacy

Making a Bottom-Line Case for Health Literacy : "Putting health-literacy principles into place obviously takes time, training, persistence, and money. The clinic offsets these expenses by putting the most cost-effective people in positions where they can do the most good. This means that patients are not always seen by primary care physicians whose time is at a premium. Instead, returning patients may be seen by physician assistants, pharmacists, nurse practitioners, or dieticians. Patients also work with nonclinical “care assistants” who follow approved guidelines to assist with problem-solving and offer social support. They help in many ways, such as: * Checking patients’ records just prior to appointments and noting any situations that need extra attention. Even when patients come to the clinic for acute problems, care assistants flag important chronic concerns. * Taking a brief, targeted health history while patients wait in the examining room. The care assistant then shares this information and other significant concerns with the clinician just prior to seeing the patient, allowing more time for clinicians and patients to focus on healthcare interventions. * Following up with patients between appointments by calling them to gather information, consulting as needed with clinicians, and then calli"

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