Despite the growing body of health information available online, patients with limited health literacy may lack either internet access or skills necessary to utilize this information. Nonetheless, patients at all health literacy levels may prefer other primary sources to obtain health information. We conducted a cross-sectional study to measure health literacy of patients attending two clinics in Dallas, TX and determine associations between health literacy, health information access and internet usage before and after controlling for confounders. Patients from both clinics (county N = 265; private N = 233) completed a brief survey which included sociodemographics, internet patterns, confidence in filling out medical forms and a self-administered Newest Vital Sign to measure health literacy. In the county clinic, most patients (61.5 %) were Hispanic, had low income (<$19,000/year), limited education (<11th grade) and a high likelihood or possibility of limited health literacy (68.5 %). In the private clinic, participants were mostly black (40.4 %) or white (38.6 %), had higher incomes (≥$46,000), higher education (technical college or college) and adequate health literacy (75.1 %). The primary source of obtaining health information in both clinics was their health care professional (50.6 % county; 40.1 % private). In multivariate analyses to determine differences by health literacy level, there were no statistically significant differences between patients with limited and adequate health literacy and their primary information source. Regardless of health literacy, patients rely on their health care providers to obtain health information. These results showcase the importance of providers' effective communication with patients to make shared decisions about their health regardless of other factors.
- Health information seeking behavior
- Health literacy
- Newest Vital Sign
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Health(social science)
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health