Date of Graduation

5-2017

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Education in Human Resource and Workforce Development (EdD)

Degree Level

Graduate

Department

Rehabilitation, Human Resources and Communication Disorders

Advisor

Carsten Schmidtke

Committee Member

Jules Beck

Second Committee Member

Kristie Hadden

Keywords

Social sciences, Education, Health literacy, Health literate healthcare organization, Organizational health literacy, Workforce development

Abstract

Inadequate health literacy is a national health problem that affects about 90 million Americans. Health literacy is the degree to which a person is able to make good health decisions based on his/her ability to read, understand, and use health information and services. Organizational Health Literacy (OHL) is the degree to which an organization considers and promotes the health literacy of patients by providing easy to read, understand, and use health information and services. Since it is difficult to determine which patients have inadequate health literacy, a recommended intervention for addressing health literacy is to use OHL practices at all patient-provider interactions. The purpose of this research study was to assess OHL practices at a large academic health center using criteria found in the ten attributes of a health literate healthcare organization (HLHO).

A survey research design was used to collect quantitative data to perform a needs assessment of OHL practices. An online survey that assesses the Ten Attributes of a Health Literate Healthcare Organization was distributed to current employees at the research site. A total of 463 survey responses were received over a ten-week period. On a 7-point Likert-type scale, the mean response on how well the organization considers and promotes the health literacy of patients was 4.72. Univariate analysis of variance revealed that there were no statistically significant differences at the 0.05 level of significance in employee responses to the survey questions based on health profession (p > 0.05), years of service (p > 0.05), or level of patient contact (p > 0.05).

Analyses of employee ratings of OHL practices based on race, gender, age, and education revealed that there were statistically significant differences in employee responses based on employees’ highest education completed only. Employees with college degrees provided the lowest ratings of OHL practices at their organization. Findings revealed that employee ratings of OHL practices indicated that the organization is not adequately considering nor promoting the health literacy of patients, and improvements are needed in all areas to become a health literate healthcare organization.

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