Thursday, April 17, 2008

Health Information Literacy Project at Lake Hospital System


Lake Hospital System in Ohio has been selected as one of only nine hospital libraries across the country to participate in the Medical Library Association's Health Information Literacy Research Project, which is being funded through a $250,000 two-year contract from the National Library of Medicine. Under the project, participants will evaluate hospital-based health care providers' awareness and understanding of health information literacy and its value in support of patient care. Full details can be found at Lake Hospital System Selected as Pilot Site for Health Information Literacy Research Project.

From the site:

"There are many factors that influence health literacy. In addition to a patient's general literacy, you have to consider the individual's amount of experience in the health care system, the complexity of the information being presented and cultural factors that may influence decision making," explained Holly Kimborowicz, Lake Hospital System's health science librarian.

"Add to this the emotions that can be involved, especially with the diagnosis of a serious illness, and it's not surprising that patients and their families are often overwhelmed by all information being communicated to them," she said.

Kimborowicz said studies show that health care professionals can most readily improve patients' health literacy by confirming that patients understand the information communicated and by adopting a more patient- friendly communication style that encourages questions.

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