Beyond literacy and numeracy in patient provider communication: Focus groups suggest roles for empowerment, provider attitude and language

Brugge, Doug; Edgar, Timothy; George, Kelly; Heung, Janette; Laws, M. Barton
January 2009
BMC Public Health;2009, Vol. 9 Issue 1, p354
Academic Journal
Background: Although the number of people living in the United States with limited English proficiency (LEP) is substantial, the impact of language on patients' experience of provider-patient communication has been little explored. Methods: We conducted a series of 12 exploratory focus groups in English, Spanish and Cantonese to elicit discussion about patient-provider communication, particularly with respect to the concerns of the health literacy framework, i.e. ability to accurately understand, interpret and apply information given by providers. Within each language, 2 groups had high education and 2 had low education participants to partially account for literacy levels, which cannot be assessed consistently across three languages. Eighty-five (85) adults enrolled in the focus groups. The resulting video tapes were transcribed, translated and analyzed via content analysis. Results: We identified 5 themes: 1) language discordant communication; 2) language concordant communication; 3) empowerment; 4) providers' attitudes; 5) issues with the health care system. Despite efforts by facilitators to elicit responses related to cognitive understanding, issues of interpersonal process were more salient, and respondents did not readily separate issues of accurate understanding from their overall narratives of experience with health care and illness. Thematic codes often appeared to be associated with education level, language and/or culture. Conclusion: Our most salient finding was that for most of our participants there was no clear demarcation between literacy and numeracy, language interpretation, health communication, interpersonal relations with their provider and the rest of their experience with the health care system.


Related Articles

  • The International Classification of Function, Disability and Health (ICF) and Its Application with AIDS. Jeng-Liang Hwang; Nochajski, Susan M. // Journal of Rehabilitation;Oct-Dec2003, Vol. 69 Issue 4, p4 

    The International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health (ICF), currently developed by the World Health Organization, is a multidimensional classification system for human functioning and disability. The conceptual framework of the ICF offers a sound basis for demonstrating the...

  • Clinical: The effects of surviving cancer. Burton, Cathy // GP: General Practitioner;5/14/2010, p37 

    The article reports that the National Cancer Survivorship Initiative was launched in 2008 in response to the Cancer Reform Strategy with the aim of co-ordinating a response to this challenge across all care settings. Long-term consequences can arise anything from a few weeks after treatment to...

  • MedEconomics: Medico-Legal - When a home visit is necessary. Gibson-Smith, Susan // GP: General Practitioner;6/13/2012, p25 

    The article focuses on the need of home visit by physicians as a part of patient care. The foremost factor to consider when a patient requests a home visit is determining the urgency. Regardless of the situation's severity, communicating effectively with the patient is crucial and will reassure...

  • How choice affects commissioners. Dixon, Michael // GP: General Practitioner;9/9/2011, p46 

    The author comments on the role of any qualified provider (AQP), designed to widen the choice of services available to patients, particularly for community and mental health services. He says that AQP represents both a threat and an opportunity for clinical commissioners and practices as the...

  • Psychosocial aspects of caregiving: perceptions of cancer patients and family caregivers. Deshields, Teresa; Rihanek, Anne; Potter, Patricia; Zhang, Qin; Kuhrik, Marilee; Kuhrik, Nancy; O'Neill, JoAnn // Supportive Care in Cancer;Feb2012, Vol. 20 Issue 2, p349 

    Purpose: The care of cancer patients involves collaboration among health care professionals, patients, and family caregivers. As health care has evolved, more complex and challenging care is provided in the home, usually with the support of family members or friends. The aim of the study was to...

  • Francesca Dego to Perform at Fundraiser for Healing Center. Straus, Margaret; Straus, Howard // Gerson Healing Newsletter;Jan/Feb2005, Vol. 20 Issue 1, p1 

    The article presents information on the Gerson Institute is most pleased to announce a fundraising Gala in San Diego to benefit the Charlotte Gerson Health Restoration Center, the Institute's newest project. The gala, whose theme is "A Legacy of Love", is intended to honor Charlotte Gerson for a...

  • ECRI Reports Explains Importance of Chain-of-Command Policies.  // Professional Safety;Feb2005, Vol. 50 Issue 2, p13 

    The article reports that delivery of patient care can involve differences of opinion in clinical practice. Healthcare facilities must provide a means for caregivers to resolve these differences in order to provide safe patient care. A new report from ECRI explains the purpose of chain-of-command...

  • Wanted: Women Only. Thrall, Terese Hudson // H&HN: Hospitals & Health Networks;Nov2002, Vol. 76 Issue 11, p20 

    Presents pieces of advice on how to handle patients' request for women home care workers. Significance of honoring patient requests that were truly needs; Other issues associated with patient requests.

  • Collaboration key to integrating healthcare in England.  // British Journal of Healthcare Computing & Information Management;Sep2010, p5 

    The article highlights the importance of integrating health care in England. It is stated that the government need to encourage collaboration as well as competition among health and social care providers if the care provided to patients is to be of high quality. In Nottingham, integrated care is...


Read the Article


Sorry, but this item is not currently available from your library.

Try another library?
Sign out of this library

Other Topics