Date of Award

4-26-2016

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) Nursing

Department

Nursing

Abstract

Health literacy defined is the degree to which individuals have the capacity to obtain process and understand basic health information to make appropriate health decisions (IOM, 2004). To be a health literate consumer, a person must be able to read, listen, understand, and make decisions related to their health. Hospitals seeking to be Health Literate Organizations must have a strong commitment to improving and reengineering to make it easier for patients to navigate, understand and use information and services to take care of their health (IOM, 2013). High quality, safe health care depends on clear communication between patients, families, providers, and health systems. Healthcare organizations need to recognize this and work toward addressing health literacy in their daily work. The purpose of this study was to examine the relationship between the perceived importance and perceived achievability of the IOM Ten Attributes of Health Literate Healthcare Organizations among Quality Improvement Registered Nurses working in acute care hospitals across the United States. A survey was designed to yield descriptive and correlational data among study variables. These types of studies often provide useful information about relationships among variables as well as identifying possible gaps that, by filling, may improve the quality and safety of care provided to patients. The results of the study revealed being a Health Literate Organization is perceived by quality improvement nurses as both important and achievable. In a majority of the sample population studied the participants determined on average over 70% of the time the IOM Ten Attributes of Health Literate Healthcare Organizations were perceived to be important and achievable. A small percent on average (< 8%), of those quality improvement nurses surveyed perceived the attributes were not important or achievable. The healthcare challenge for those hospitals seeking to become Health Literate Organizations will be to integrate the IOM Ten Attributes into their everyday work flow. Implementation will require making clear and effective communication a priority with leadership support being critical to success. Changes such as hardwiring new and innovative processes into place to effect open communication among all staff, providers, patients and families will need to occur. The potential results are momentous, actively engaged patients who are experiencing safe, effective care with improved health outcomes at hospitals which are successfully meeting the needs of all populations being cared for –the ultimate goal of becoming a Health Literate Organization.

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