A Low-Literacy Medication Education Tool for Safety-Net Hospital Patients

Published In: American Journal of Preventive Medicine, v. 37, no. 6, Suppl. 1, Dec. 2009, p. S209-S216

Posted on RAND.org on January 01, 2009

by Kristina M. Cordasco, Steven M. Asch, Douglas S. Bell, Jeffrey J. Guterman, Sandra Gross-Schulman, Lois Ramer, Uri Elkayam, Idalid Franco, Cianna L. Leatherwood, Carol Mangione

Read More

Access further information on this document at Elsevier Science Inc.

This article was published outside of RAND. The full text of the article can be found at the link above.

BACKGROUND: To improve medication adherence in cardiac patients, in partnership with a safety-net provider, this research team developed and evaluated a low-literacy medication education tool METHODS: Using principles of community-based participatory research, the team developed a prototype of a low-literacy hospital discharge medication education tool, customizable for each patient, featuring instruction-specific icons and pictures of pills. In 2007, a randomized controlled clinical trial was performed, testing the tool's effect on posthospitalization self-reported medication adherence and knowledge, 2 weeks postdischarge in English- and Spanish-speaking safety-net inpatients. To validate the self-report measure, 4 weeks postdischarge, investigators collected self-reports of the number of pills remaining for each medication in a subsample of participants. Nurses rated tool acceptability. RESULTS: Among the 166/210 eligible participants (79%) completing the Week-2 interview, self-reported medication adherence was 70% (95% CI=62%, 79%) in intervention participants and 78% (95% CI=72%, 84%) in controls (p=0.13). Among the 85 participants (31%) completing the Week-4 interview, self-reported pill counts indicated high adherence (greater than 90%) and did not differ between study arms. Self-reported adherence was correlated with self-reported pill count in intervention participants (R=0.5, p=0.004) but not in controls (R=0.07, p=0.65). There were no differences by study arm in medication knowledge. The nurses rated the tool as highly acceptable. CONCLUSIONS: Although the evaluation did not demonstrate the tool to have any effect on self-reported medication adherence, patients who received the schedule self-reported their medication adherence more accurately, perhaps indicating improved understanding of their medication regimen and awareness of non-adherence.

This report is part of the RAND Corporation external publication series. Many RAND studies are published in peer-reviewed scholarly journals, as chapters in commercial books, or as documents published by other organizations.

The RAND Corporation is a nonprofit institution that helps improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis. RAND's publications do not necessarily reflect the opinions of its research clients and sponsors.