Using single-item health literacy screening questions to identify patients who read written nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medicine information provided at pharmacies

UMMS Affiliation

Department of Quantitative Health Sciences

Publication Date


Document Type



Health Literacy


Bioinformatics | Biostatistics | Epidemiology | Health Services Research


Our goal was to assess the relationships between single-item health literacy screening questions and reading prescription nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) written medicine information (WMI) provided at pharmacies. The health literacy of 382 patients from primary care physician practices in Alabama was estimated using validated health literacy screening questions related to understanding written medical information (SQ1); confidence in completing medical forms alone (SQ2); and need for assistance in reading hospital materials (SQ3). Reading WMI was measured by a "Yes" response to the question, "Often the drug store gives you written information such as pamphlets or handouts along with your prescription. Have you read about the risks of NSAIDs in this written material provided by the drug store?" Relationships were assessed using generalized linear latent and mixed models. Two-thirds (67.6%) of patients read WMI. Higher estimated health literacy was associated with increased odds of reading WMI. Adjusted odds ratios (95% CI) were 2.08 (1.08-4.03); 2.09 (1.12-3.91); and 1.98 (1.04-3.77) using SQ1-SQ3. Current WMI may be unable to meet the needs of those with inadequate health literacy. Health literacy screening questions can be used to triage patients at risk for not reading WMI so they can be assisted with supplemental educational strategies.

DOI of Published Version



J Health Commun. 2010 Jun;15(4):413-27. Link to article on publisher's site

Journal/Book/Conference Title

Journal of health communication

PubMed ID


Related Resources

Link to Article in PubMed