Assessing health literacy in safety net primary care practices

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Health literacy is now recognized as a crucial element of patient safety. Measuring health literacy in busy primary care practices can be challenging. This article presents findings from a study in which a relatively recent tool, the Newest Vital Sign (NVS) was used in seven safety net primary care practices, five of which were nurse managed health centers. The NVS is a promising tool that could be used extensively in most primary care practices. Providers and staff felt the use of the NVS would be beneficial in identifying low health literacy patients. This study supported previous research on low health literacy as well as the predictors of health literacy. The study also confirmed the NVS as a tool that is efficient to administer while maintaining work flow.


Health literacy; Newest Vital Sign; Nurse managed health centers; Primary care



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