A personalized approach to deliver health care information to diabetic patients in community care clinics

J Med Libr Assoc. 2015 Jul;103(3):123-30. doi: 10.3163/1536-5050.103.3.004.


Objective: The study's purpose was to test the generalizability of an individualized information prescription model, which has been previously validated for educating patients about hypertension in emergency department and community health center settings. Study investigators assessed the effects of educational materials targeted to health literacy levels and learning styles on patients' diabetes knowledge in a community clinic setting.

Methods: From May to August 2012, 160 patients were recruited and randomized into intervention (n = 81) and control (n = 79) groups. Inclusion criteria included 18 years or older, English or Spanish speaker, and a type 2 diabetes diagnosis. Measures included modified versions of the Diabetes Knowledge Test and Subjective Numeracy Scale, along with brief health literacy and learning style assessments. Study team members contacted both groups after 2 and 6 weeks to reassess diabetes knowledge.

Results: The control group showed no significant change in diabetes knowledge at both follow-ups. In contrast, the mean number of diabetes knowledge questions answered correctly by the intervention group increased significantly after 2 weeks (Δ = 2.66, P = 0.000), which persisted at 6 weeks (Δ = 2.46, P = 0.00).

Conclusions: This study showed that patients' knowledge about diabetes increased significantly after exposure to educational materials targeted to their health literacy levels and learning style preferences and that the model is transferrable among health conditions.

Keywords: Community Health Centers; Diabetes; Health Communication; Health Literacy; Learning; Patient Education.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / psychology
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / therapy*
  • Female
  • Health Behavior
  • Health Education / methods*
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice*
  • Health Literacy*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Patient Education as Topic / methods*
  • Young Adult