Adaptation of the health literacy universal precautions toolkit for rheumatology and cardiology - applications for pharmacy professionals to improve self-management and outcomes in patients with chronic disease

Res Social Adm Pharm. Sep-Oct 2013;9(5):597-608. doi: 10.1016/j.sapharm.2013.04.016. Epub 2013 Jul 16.


Over a decade of research in health literacy has provided evidence of strong links between literacy skills of patients and health outcomes. At the same time, numerous studies have yielded insight into efficacious action that health providers can take to mitigate the negative effects of limited literacy. This small study focuses on the adaptation, review and use of two new health literacy toolkits for health professionals who work with patients with two of the most prevalent chronic conditions, arthritis and cardiovascular disease. Pharmacists have a key role in communicating with patients and caregivers about various aspects of disease self-management, which frequently includes appropriate use of medications. Participating pharmacists and staff offered suggestions that helped shape revisions and reported positive experiences with brown bag events, suggestions for approaches with patients managing chronic diseases, and with concrete examples related to several medicines [such as Warfarin(©)] as well as to common problems [such as inability to afford needed medicine]. Although not yet tested in community pharmacy sites, these publically available toolkits can inform professionals and staff and offer insights for communication improvement.

Keywords: Brown bag review; Health literacy; Medication adherence; Teach-back method.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Arthritis / drug therapy*
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / drug therapy*
  • Chronic Disease
  • Health Literacy*
  • Health Personnel
  • Humans
  • Patient Outcome Assessment
  • Self Care