Abstract 20349: Comparison of Health Literacy by Race and Gender Among Heart Failure Patients
Background: Heart failure affects Blacks at a disproportionate rate compared with Whites. Effective self-management programs, including those involving technology have been shown to improve clinical outcomes for heart failure patients but a majority of these strategies use educational materials that require at least 3rd grade reading skills. The purpose of this study was to examine health literacy levels of patients with heart failure and to determine if low health literacy differed by race or gender.
Methods: We compared health literacy scores in a cohort of heart failure patients (n=51) participating in a self-management educational intervention involving the use of iPads. Health literacy was measured by the REALM-SF, a 7-item instrument of word recognition. REALM scores range from 0-7, with scores of 0 representing 3rd grade and below, scores of 1-3 representing 4th- 6th grade, scores of 4-6 indicating 7th-8th grade, and a score of 7 representing high school and above. In this study, health literacy scores were dichotomized (score of 0 = low health literacy 3rd grade and below vs. score ≤ 1 = literacy 4th grade and higher) and compared by race and gender.
Results: The sample consisted of 65% (n=33) Blacks (48% female) and 35% (n=18) Whites (33% female). Low health literacy (below 3rd grade level) were observed in 17% of the 51 patient cohort, and 100% of this sub-group were Blacks (n=9). While there were no differences in health literacy by gender (p=0.268 Fisher’s exact test), statistically significant differences were found in health literacy among Blacks when compared with Whites (p=0.019 Fisher’s exact test).
Conclusions: Health literacy differed significantly based on race. These findings suggest that when designing technology-based interventions to promote heart failure self-management, health literacy should be considered and provisions made for those with low health literacy.
Author Disclosures: H.A. Hughes: None. M. Bowers: None. V. McKee: None. L. Saladino: None. T. Sawyer: None. D. Washington: None. J.P. Bettger: None. B.B. Granger: None.
- © 2014 by American Heart Association, Inc.