Understanding and Addressing Health Literacy (Nursing)

Target Audience:

This activity has been developed for primary care physicians, registered nurses, pharmacists, and allied health professionals.

Program Overview:

Lack of knowledge among providers regarding issues related to health literacy (HL) can substantially alter patient-provider communication and hinder benefits expected from medical care. Limited HL contributes to poor patient compliance, uncontrolled chronic disease, and rising health care costs. A recent report by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality on HL concluded that "low reading skills and poor health are clearly related."

Given the enormous burden of low HL and the potential to reduce poor outcomes with intervention, the US Department of Health and Human Services recently released a national action plan on HL. This action plan includes a call for increased development of interventions to improve HL. During this educational activity, experts in the field will interact with real patients who have struggled with HL. Faculty discussion will center on clinical pearls and best practices for improving patient communication. This activity will enable primary care physicians, nurses, pharmacists, and other health professionals to recognize areas for improvement within their own organizations and practices with regard to HL.

Instructions for Participation and Credit:

There are no fees for participating and receiving credit for this activity. During the period October 11, 2013 through October 11, 2014, participants must read the learning objectives and faculty disclosures and study the educational activity.


Postgraduate Institute for Medicine is accredited as a provider of continuing nursing education by the American Nurses Credentialing Center’s Commission on Accreditation.

Credit Designation:

This educational activity for 1.2 contact hours is provided by Postgraduate Institute for Medicine.

California Board of Registered Nursing
Provider approved by the California Board of Registered Nursing, Provider Number 13485, for 1.2 contact hours.

Faculty Listing:

Michael Paasche-Orlow, MD, MA, MPH (Chairperson)
Associate Professor of Medicine
Boston University School of Medicine
Boston, MA

Terry C. Davis, PhD
Professor of Medicine and Pediatrics
Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center
Shreveport, LA

Ruth M. Parker, MD
Professor, Division of General Medicine
Professor, Department of Pediatrics
Emory University School of Medicine
Professor, Division of Epidemiology
Emory University Rollins School of Public Health
Atlanta, GA


  • Define the concept of health literacy and the associated obstacles that exist in our patient population for physicians and other health care providers
  • Develop strategies to overcome obstacles to health literacy in order to maximize the efficiency of the patient visit
  • Provide appropriate care and counsel for patients and their families

Financial Disclosure:

Michael Paasche-Orlow, MD, MA, MPH
He or his spouse have no real or apparent conflicts of interest to report.

Terry C. Davis, PhD
Consulting Fees (eg, advisory boards): Ortho-McNeil-Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Inc
Fees for Non-CME Services Received Directly From a Commercial Interest or Their Agents (eg, speakers' bureau):
Contracted Research: Abbott Laboratories, Ortho-McNeil-Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Inc
Ownership Interest: Abbott Laboratories, Johnson & Johnson

Ruth M. Parker, MD
Contracted Research: Abbott Laboratories, Johnson & Johnson, Merck & Co, Inc

The following CME Incite planners and managers, Priya Wanchoo, MBBS, and Monique Pond, PhD, hereby state that they or their spouse/life partner do not have any financial relationships or relationships to products or devices with any commercial interests related to the content of this CME activity.

The following PIM planners and managers, Laura Excell, ND, NP, MS, MA, LPC, NCC, Trace Hutchison, PharmD, Jan Schultz, RN, MSN, CCMEP, hereby state that they or their spouse/life partner do not have any financial relationships or relationships to products or devices with any commercial interest related to the content of this activity of any amount during the past 12 months.

Disclosure of Unlabeled Use:

This educational activity may contain discussion of published and/or investigational uses of agents that are not indicated by the FDA. The planners of this activity do not recommend the use of any agent outside of the labeled indications.

The opinions expressed in the educational activity are those of the faculty and do not necessarily represent the views of the planners. Please refer to the official prescribing information for each product for discussion of approved indications, contraindications, and warnings.


Participants have an implied responsibility to use the newly acquired information to enhance patient outcomes and their own professional development. The information presented in this activity is not meant to serve as a guideline for patient management. Any procedures, medications, or other courses of diagnosis or treatment discussed or suggested in this activity should not be used by clinicians without evaluation of their patient's conditions and possible contraindications and/or dangers in use, review of any applicable manufacturer's product information, and comparison with recommendations of other authorities.