Lower Health Literacy is Associated with Poorer Health Status and Outcomes in Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease

Division of Pulmonary, Critical Care, and Sleep Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of California, San Francisco, San Francisco, CA, 94118, USA, .
Journal of General Internal Medicine (Impact Factor: 3.42). 08/2012; 28(1). DOI: 10.1007/s11606-012-2177-3
Source: PubMed


Limited health literacy is associated with poor outcomes in many chronic diseases, but little is known about health literacy in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

To examine the associations between health literacy and both outcomes and health status in COPD. PARTICIPANTS, DESIGN AND MAIN MEASURES: Structured interviews were administered to 277 subjects with self-report of physician-diagnosed COPD, recruited through US random-digit telephone dialing. Health literacy was measured with a validated three-item battery. Multivariable linear regression, controlling for sociodemographics including income and education, determined the cross-sectional associations between health literacy and COPD-related health status: COPD Severity Score, COPD Helplessness Index, and Airways Questionnaire-20R [measuring respiratory-specific health-related quality of life (HRQoL)]. Multivariable logistic regression estimated associations between health literacy and COPD-related hospitalizations and emergency department (ED) visits.

Key results:
Taking socioeconomic status into account, poorer health literacy (lowest tertile compared to highest tertile) was associated with: worse COPD severity (+2.3 points; 95 % CI 0.3-4.4); greater COPD helplessness (+3.7 points; 95 % CI 1.6-5.8); and worse respiratory-specific HRQoL (+3.5 points; 95 % CI 1.8-4.9). Poorer health literacy, also controlling for the same covariates, was associated with higher likelihood of COPD-related hospitalizations (OR = 6.6; 95 % CI 1.3-33) and COPD-related ED visits (OR = 4.7; 95 % CI 1.5-15). Analyses for trend across health literacy tertiles were statistically significant (p < 0.05) for all above outcomes.

Independent of socioeconomic status, poor health literacy is associated with greater COPD severity, greater COPD helplessness, worse respiratory-specific HRQoL, and higher odds of COPD-related emergency health-care utilization. These results underscore that COPD patients with poor health literacy may be at particular risk for poor health-related outcomes.

Download full-text


Available from: Theodore A Omachi,
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Pulmonary rehabilitation (PR) is an evidence-based, multidisciplinary and cost-effective intervention that leads to improved health in patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, COPD. However, the availability of PR programs varies between and within different countries. The aim of this study was to investigate the availability and content of hospital-based PR programs in patients with COPD in Sweden. A cross-sectional descriptive design was applied using a web-based questionnaire which was sent out to all hospitals in Sweden. The questionnaire consisted of 32 questions that concerned availability and content of PR in patients with COPD during 2011. Seventy out of 71 hospitals responded the electronic survey. Forty-six (66%) hospitals offered PR for patients with COPD. Around 75% of the hospitals in southern and middle parts of Sweden and 33% of the hospitals in the northern part offered PR. Thirty-four percent of the patients declined participation. A total number of 1355 patients participated in PR which represents 0.2% of the COPD population in Sweden. All hospitals had exercise training as major component and 76% offered an educational program. Not even half a percent of the patients with COPD in Sweden took part in a hospital-based PR program during 2011. There was a considerable geographic discrepancy in availability over the country. To enable a greater part of the increasing number of patients with COPD to take part in this evidence-based treatment, there is a need of evaluating other settings of PR programs; in primary care, at home and/or over the internet.
    Respiratory medicine 05/2013; 107(8). DOI:10.1016/j.rmed.2013.04.019 · 3.09 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: The burden of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is high. Health benefits can be gained in primary care by early detection and preventive measures. To compare the effectiveness of two strategies for population-based early detection of COPD, taking into account different socioeconomic status (SES) settings. Practices were randomised on strategy and stratified on SES setting. The Respiratory Health Screening Questionnaire (RHSQ) was distributed to all participants. In the practice-managed condition, the practice was responsible for the whole procedure, while in the patient-managed condition, patients were responsible for calculating their RHSQ risk score and applying for a spirometry test. The main outcome measure was the rate of COPD diagnoses after screening. More new COPD patients were detected in the practice-managed condition (36%) than in the patient-managed condition (18%). In low SES practices, more high-risk patients were found (16%) than in moderate-to-high SES practices (9%). Recalculated for a standard Dutch practice (2,350 patients), the yield would be 8.9 new COPD diagnoses, which is a 20% increase of known cases. The practice-managed variant of this screening procedure shows a substantial yield of new COPD diagnoses for both low and moderate-to-high SES practices.
    Primary care respiratory journal: journal of the General Practice Airways Group 08/2013; 22(3). DOI:10.4104/pcrj.2013.00070 · 2.50 Impact Factor
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Low health literacy is generally associated with poor health outcomes; however, health literacy has received little attention in multiple sclerosis (MS). The aim of this study was to investigate the health literacy of persons with MS using the North American Research Committee on Multiple Sclerosis (NARCOMS) Registry. In 2012, we conducted a cross-sectional study of health literacy among NARCOMS participants. Respondents completed the Medical Term Recognition Test (METER) which assesses the ability to distinguish medical and nonmedical words, and the Newest Vital Sign (NVS) instrument which evaluates reading, interpretation, and numeracy skills. Respondents reported their sociodemographic characteristics, health behaviors, comorbidities, visits to the emergency room (ER), and hospitalizations in the last 6 months. We used logistic regression to evaluate the characteristics associated with functional literacy, and the association between functional literacy and health care utilization. Of 13,020 eligible participants, 8934 (68.6%) completed the questionnaire and were US residents. Most of them performed well on the instruments with 81.04% (7066/8719) having functional literacy on the METER and 74.62% (6666/8933) having adequate literacy on the NVS. Low literacy on the METER or the NVS was associated with smoking, being overweight or obese (all P<.001). After adjustment, low literacy on the METER was associated with ER visits (OR 1.28, 95% CI 1.10-1.48) and hospitalizations (OR 1.19, 95% CI 0.98-1.44). Findings were similar for the NVS. In the NARCOMS cohort, functional health literacy is high. However, lower levels of health literacy are associated with adverse health behaviors and greater health care utilization.
    02/2014; 3(1):e3. DOI:10.2196/ijmr.2993
Show more