Low health literacy is associated with poor health outcomes and is most likely to affect patients with low socioeconomic status and public health insurance. With limited internet access no longer a barrier, a new digital divide exists where patients of varying socioeconomic levels use different search terms when looking up medical information online.
"Patient education is vitally important for a variety of reasons," said Dr. Aaron Daluiski, hand and upper extremity surgeon at Hospital for Special Surgery (HSS). "An informed patient asks the right questions and is more likely to follow through on self-care after they leave the physician office."
A new study from HSS set out to determine if it’s possible to effectively drive patients to patient information websites through passive means, regardless of their socioeconomic status. The study took an underutilized resource, the patient waiting room, and put up identical posters in one room that only treats privately insured and another room that only treats publically insured (includes Medicaid and non-paying patients).