Gut and Gastroenterology

Abstract

Higher than anticipated Health Literacy in Patients with Inflammatory Bowel Disease: A Single Center Experience

Author(s): Nidhi Malhotra, Gaurav Sahay, Sameer Desale, Aline Charabaty, Mark C Mattar

Background & Aim: Health literacy is important in any chronic disease. Inadequate or limited literacy is a major barrier to optimum medical care. Our aim in this study is to evaluate the level of literacy in patients with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), measure physician’s assessment of the patient’s literacy and if any patient related factors are predictive of health literacy. 
Methods: This is a prospectively designed survey based study. Patients seen in the IBD clinic at a tertiary care center were asked to fill out an interactive literacy survey. Adequate health literacy was defined at 75% or higher. Clinician perception of patient’s literacy was recorded by the physician the same day. Demographic and disease characteristics were abstracted from the medical record.
Results: 165 patients were included in the study. Average age was 36.1; 87 were females; 122 were Caucasian; 159 with private insurance; 103 had Crohn’s disease, 60 had Ulcerative colitis and 2 had Indeterminate colitis. 70.9% patients noted to have adequate health literacy score while 60.0% patients were evaluated by physician to have adequate health literacy score. Poor agreement noted between physician’s evaluation and patients health literacy assessment score (kappa = 0.0212; CI -0.1276 to 0.1699). Age was the only variable predictive of adequate health literacy (p= 0.0154). 
Conclusion: A significantly higher proportion of IBD population in our study had adequate health literacy. Clinicians underestimated the literacy level. The disproportionate demographic and administration of surveys after the clinic visit may have skewed the results towards the unexpected higher health literacy rate.

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