Columbus, OH,
17:40 PM

Columbus Dispatch: Health Literacy

Program Aims To Educate Patients, Keep Them Out Of Hospital

When you get sick, you want to get well. Many times that could mean a trip to a doctor or a hospital.  When a patient leaves to go home, what has to happen to make sure that person doesn't return.

One of the most important things, according to Dr. Joe Geskey, Vice President of Medical Affairs at OhioHealth Doctors Hospital, education, and understanding is paramount.

It's one of the reasons Dr. Geskey pushed hard to make sure a Health Literacy pilot program happened at Doctors last year.

"It’s estimated that around one-third of United States consumers have some sort of limitation with health literacy," Dr. Geskey told JoAnne Viviano of The Columbus Dispatch.

At Doctors Hospital, team members learn more about heart and lung patients through a survey. From there, more than 100 signed up to be part of the Health Literacy program.

As part of that program, patients get personalized visits from Dr. Geskey and members of the OhioHealth Home Care team.

“The most poignant aspect of this is that this kills,” Geskey told the Dispatch. “Very few people screen for literacy. ... If literacy can lead to bad health outcomes, why don’t we do more of this?”

Now, 100 patients in, Dr. Geskey says they are seeing what appears to be positive news. Of the more than 100 in the program, the readmission rate is around 10%. That is a number Dr. Geskey says is a good sign.

“Many physicians and health-care providers come with an impression that what they’re saying is easily understandable,  whereas patients have significant problems to be able to understand very complex information,” Geskey said. “And that sets up a potential for failure from the beginning. We have the ability to teach them, we have the ability for them to be successful.”

To learn more about the program, and to read the entire story in the Columbus Dispatch, simply click the logo.