Library and Information Science
Title: Health Literacy Education Initiative (HLEI): improving patient health literacy while enhancing physician assistant patient education skills
Authors: Lisa Smith, MLS and Patti Pagels, MPAS, PA-C
Summary / Objective The Health Science Library in conjunction with the University Physician Assistant Studies program sought to increase the health literacy of caregivers of pediatric patients while increasing Physician Assistant student patient education skills. Students received instruction in the essential components of health literacy and subsequently utilized those techniques to instruct patients in basic wellness concepts.
Method Two audiences were targeted to receive health literacy instruction. Instruction was provided to students enrolled in the Physician Assistant program and caregivers of pediatric patients.
Student training included instructional sessions describing the concepts of health literacy, effective patient-health professional communication, and techniques for searching the MedlinePlus database. Instructional sessions were conducted by PA Studies faculty, County Public Health Department health educators and a University librarian.
PA Students subsequently conducted patient education sessions comprised of patients and caregivers visiting the Pediatric Patient Care building for scheduled office visits. Patient education sessions consisted of fifty-five 15 minute presentations utilizing laptop’s connected to the internet to demonstrate how to search for consumer health information from the NLM.
Surveys were completed by students and patients to determine participant perceptions of instruction quality and satisfaction with MedlinePlus as a patient education tool.
Evaluation: Evaluative data was collected via survey instruments distributed to both students and patients. Patient education sessions conducted by students were assessed by two survey instruments to determine patient satisfaction with information obtained during these instructional sessions, and a self-evaluation completed by the student presenter to determine student perceptions of how well they covered the objectives for the presentation.
Results / Outcome: This project reached two audiences: the healthcare/information consumer and the patient educator. The PA student acquired lifelong teaching skills that may be utilized as they spend their careers educating patients in the appropriate use of medical information. Caregivers became better consumers of health information while learning information seeking techniques. Caregivers also learned basic diagnostic skills to help them effectively care for the needs of pediatric patients.
Additionally, the University Library established a successful collaborative relationship with both the campus PA Studies faculty and the County Public Health agency.
Smith, Lisa and Pagels, Patti, "Health Literacy Education Initiative (HLEI): improving patient health literacy while enhancing physician assistant education skills" (2008). Faculty. 2.