• Pharmacists’ Perceptions of Patients’ Health Literacy Levels Compared to Measured Health Literacy Levels

      Lee, Jeannie; Mnatzaganian, Christina; Fabriguze, Angel; Phan, Tina; Lee, Jeannie; College of Pharmacy, The University of Arizona (The University of Arizona., 2011)
      OBJECTIVES: To compare pharmacists’ perceptions of patients’ health literacy levels to their measured health literacy levels. METHODS: This was descriptive study that included thirty patients from two independent pharmacies where they were administered a health literacy survey at random during their routine visit to the pharmacy. Each participant’s health literacy assessment was scored and assigned to a corresponding literacy level. Pharmacists from each store were then surveyed as to what they perceived each patient’s health literacy level to be. RESULTS: Twenty-eight of the thirty participants (93%) obtained the highest literacy score possible in the assessment. Two participants scored lower literacy levels and were both non-whites who were currently taking six or more medications and over the age of 50. No significant differences with respect to age, gender, education level, number of previous conversations with the pharmacist, or number of current medications were found as compared to measured literacy level. Actual literacy scores as well as perceived literacy levels between sites were also found to be insignificant (p=0.17 and p=0.58 respectively). With respect to race, there was a significant difference between whites vs. non-whites relative to REALM scores (p<0.001). Analysis of the difference between actual literacy scores and perceived scores were unable to be determined.       CONCLUSION: Based on the two participants who had lower literacy levels, this may suggest a disparity in health literacy with respect to race, age, and number of concurrent medications. However, due to lack of study variability, the significance of the difference was unable to be determined and conducting a larger study with more diverse settings, demographics, and larger sample size is suggested.