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Member Research & Reports

Member Research & Reports

WashU: Front-Desk Experience Drives Health Literacy Outcomes

Patients who have a good front-desk experience at their doctor’s offices or who bring questions with them are more likely to know more about their health and make better health care choices, according to research from the Brown School at Washington University in St. Louis.

2014 Brown School Distinguished Alumni Awards
[Photo: Dr. Matthew W. Kreuter]

Researchers surveyed 3,358 residents of Missouri.  Respondents who reported a good experience at the front desk were 2.65 times more likely to report knowing more about their health after seeing a doctor. Those who brought questions with them were 1.73 times as likely to report knowing more. Patients in both groups were also more likely to report making better choices.

“Having a respectful workforce and patient engagement though question asking may be more important to patient knowledge and health behaviors than patients’ health literacy skills,” said the study, whose senior author was Dr. Matthew W. Kreuter, Kahn Family Professor and associate dean for public health at the Brown School. Researchers from the St. Louis University School of Public Health also participated in the study.

The study was published October 24, 2014 in BMC Health Services Research.

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