The presenting patient is a 76-year-old black male with disabilities living in an urban setting. To provide efficient care for our patients, we must first obtain an accurate health history and thorough patient assessment. Providers must identify the patient’s current level of health to determine which interventions may be appropriate. To acquire this information from our patients, the use of appropriate assessment and communication techniques are critical. Healthy People 2020 (HP 2020) highlights the national importance of effective patient-provider communication with an objective aim to “increase the proportion of persons who report that their health care providers have satisfactory communication skills” (Weatherspoon, Horowitz, Kleinman, & Wang, 2015). Building rapport through wholesome communication is an effective part of the patient-provider relationship. We must determine and account for all possible barriers to communication and care to help decide which tools and interventions are necessary. We must establish their current level of health literacy, and we must allow appropriate time for questioning and confirmation of understanding. Health literacy is defined as “the degree to which individuals have the capacity to obtain, process, and understand basic health information and services needed to make appropriate health decisions (Weatherspoon, Horowitz, Kleinman, & Wang, 2015). We cannot expect patients to agree upon and follow provider recommendations if they do not fully understand. Low health literacy has been linked to poorer health outcomes, so effective communication is especially critical to increase the chances for positive health outcomes (Weatherspoon, Horowitz, Kleinman, & Wang, 2015).
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- Fall '18
- Dr. Aimee Kirkendal
- Health care provider, Horowitz