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Partnership for Clear Health Communication Joins Forces with the National Patient Safety Foundation

Friday, May 4, 2007   (0 Comments)
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Combined Resources Helps Expand Reach and Awareness of Health Literacy

May 4, 2007 — The Partnership for Clear Health Communication (PCHC), the country’s leading non-profit organization dedicated to improving low health literacy, today announced it will join forces with the National Patient Safety Foundation (NPSF) to form the Partnership for Clear Health Communication at the National Patient Safety Foundation. The announcement, made today at the NPSF annual conference in Washington, D.C., will allow the organizations to further expand awareness and solutions of health literacy and its impact on health outcomes.

“After a review of our strategic plan and a thorough evaluation process, bringing PCHC under the NPSF umbrella was the clear choice as the future of our organization,” said Barbara DeBuono, MD, MPH, PCHC Board Chair. “NPSF is a respected leader in improving patient safety. Combined with their commitment to health literacy and their clear alignment with the PCHC mission, we will make significant inroads in advancing clear health communication.”

The National Patient Safety Foundation is a 501(c)3 non-profit whose mission is to improve the safety of the health care system, of which health literacy is a critical component. Understanding that communication breakdowns are the leading source of medical errors, NPSF will be integrating PCHC’s flagship health literacy program, Ask Me 3, into its program offerings. Ask Me 3 promotes three simple but essential questions that patients should ask their providers in every health care interaction:

What is my main problem?
What do I need to do?
Why is it important for me to do this?

A recent report by the National Center for Education Statistics, “The Health Literacy of America’s Adults” found that fewer than one in six people are proficient in health literacy – 22 percent of adults have basic health literacy and 14 percent of adults are at or below basic literacy levels. Basic health literacy is defined by the ability to obtain, process, and understand basic health information and services needed to make appropriate health decisions. Low health literacy is associated with poor health outcomes, including increased hospitalization rates, fewer preventive screenings, and higher rates of disease and mortality. A member of PCHC since December of 2004, NPSF is committed to educating patients and providers about low health literacy, developing and applying practical solutions to improve patient-provider communication, and serving as a standard setter in health literacy and health communication.

Since its creation in 2002, PCHC has made many considerable movements in advancing the awareness of health literacy. In 2004, the Institutes of Medicine released a report called Health Literacy: A Prescription to End Confusion that examined health literacy and recommended actions to promote a health literate society. In addition this year, the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations released a white paper to assist health professionals in understanding the communication gap between providers and patients and what needs to be done to close it.

Diane Pinakiewicz, president of NPSF, states, “PCHC has a long history of accomplishments in health literacy. From their widely used and respected Ask Me 3 program to their work with CMS to increase awareness and understanding around the Medicare Part D Prescription Drug Benefit, PCHC has been at the forefront of health literacy. NPSF looks forward to continuing this important work to better health outcomes.”

In addition to aligning the mission and integrating PCHC and Ask Me 3 principles into NPSF programs, the Partnership for Clear Health Communication at the National Patient Safety Center will continue to engage with the more than 500 PCHC members through e-newsletters and other channels. The PCHC Board will also continue to have an active role in PCHC at NPSF, with the PCHC Board becoming an advisory board at NPSF.

The Partnership for Clear Health Communication (PCHC) is a national, non-profit coalition working to build awareness and advance solutions to improve health literacy and positively impact health outcomes.

The National Patient Safety Foundation is an independent nonprofit organization dedicated to improving patient safety and reducing medical errors through leadership, research support, and education. It is an unprecedented partnership of health care practitioners, institutional providers, health product providers, health product manufacturers, researchers, legal advisors, patient/consumer advocates, regulator, and policy makers committed to making health care safer for patients and making patient safety a national priority.

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