"Information Fatigue" in Healthcare: How Quality over Quantity Improves Health Literacy

March 22, 2019 | Aging Services Risk Management


​The authors of an article published in the March 2019 issue of Caring for the Ages suggests that information overload affects how individuals make care transition decisions, such as adhering to medication instructions, physician or provider follow-up visit schedules, or other critical discharge activities. "We are overwhelming our transitioning patients with so much regulatory and legalistic required information, much of it having little relevance to that particular patient, that the key information is lost," say the authors, who came to this conclusion after one of them participated in an organization's case review process. The authors found a number of trends that inhibited health literacy: the charts were never less than 100 to 200 pages (frequently over 400 pages) and discharge instructions were regularly over 40 pages (only in English), were often dense and difficult to follow, and were not tailored to the patient being transitioned (such as instructing a 92-year-old man not to take his medications with birth control pills or providing only written instructions to a patient whose chart indicated he was blind).

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