Hospital evaluation of health literacy and associated outcomes in patients after acute myocardial infarction

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Abstract

Background

Low health literacy is common in the United States and may affect outcomes after myocardial infarction (MI). How often hospitals screen for low health literacy is unknown.

Methods

We surveyed 122 hospitals in the TRANSLATE-ACS study and divided them into those that reported routinely (>75% of patients), selectively (1%-75%), or never (0%) screening MI patients for low health literacy prior to discharge. We performed logistic regression with random intercepts to compare 6-week and 6-month patient-reported medication adherence and multivariable Cox regression to compare 1-year major adverse cardiovascular events and all-cause readmission risks between hospital groups.

Results

Overall, 25 (20.5%), 47 (38.5%), and 50 (41.0%) hospitals reported routinely, selectively, or never screening patients for low health literacy, respectively. Patients discharged from hospitals that routinely screened were more likely to report 6-week medication adherence [routinely: adjusted odds ratio (OR) 1.26, 95% CI 1.01-1.57; selectively: adjusted OR 1.19, 95% CI 1.00-1.43, both referenced to those discharged from hospitals that never screened]. Compared with hospitals that never screened health literacy, 1-year major adverse cardiovascular events were similar for hospitals that reported routinely screening (adjusted HR 0.92, 95% CI 0.75-1.14) or selectively screening (adjusted HR 1.01, 95% CI 0.84-1.21). Hospitals that reported selectively screening health literacy were associated with a lower adjusted risk of 1-year all-cause readmission (adjusted HR 0.89, 95% CI 0.79-1.00, P = .041).

Conclusion

Only a minority of US hospitals routinely screen MI patients for low health literacy. Hospital screening was associated with higher medication adherence and lower readmission risk. Further investigation is needed to understand how inpatient screening can be implemented to improve longitudinal post-MI care.

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