Effects of health literacy on treatment outcome and satisfaction in patients with mallet finger injury

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Study Design:Prospective cohort.Introduction:Patient comprehension of their injury, its treatment, and health care provider's instructions plays an important role in health management and recovery from trauma.Purpose of the Study:This study investigates the effects of health literacy (the ability to obtain, process, and understand health information needed to make appropriate health decisions) on treatment outcomes and satisfaction in patients with mallet finger injuries.Methods:A total of 72 patients who had been treated with an orthosis for an acute mallet finger injury were enrolled in this prospective study. Health literacy was measured according to the newest vital sign during the initial visit, and adherence according to the treatment protocol was rated at week 7 when orthotic intervention was ceased. At 6 months, a follow-up visit was conducted to assess the extensor lag, treatment satisfaction, and disability (through the Quick Disabilities of the Arm, Shoulder, and Hand score). Bivariate and multivariable analyses were performed to determine whether patient demographics, injury characteristics, and health literacy factors accounted for following outcomes: extensor lag, satisfaction, and disability.Results:The newest vital sign scores were moderately correlated with patient adherence and age. Extensor lag was associated with an increase in age, poor adherence, and low health literacy, and these 3 factors accounted for 28% of the variation in the extensor lag. A greater disability was associated with poor adherence, which accounted for 12% of the variance in disability. Lower treatment satisfaction was associated with low health literacy and poor adherence, and these 2 factors accounted for 21% of the variation in treatment satisfaction.Discussion and Conclusions:Limited health literacy was associated with poor adherence in orthosis care for mallet finger injuries and led to poorer treatment outcomes in terms of extensor lag and treatment satisfaction.Level of Evidence:2B

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