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Hirsh J, Wood P, Keniston A, Boyle D, Quinzanos I, Caplan L, Davis L. Universal Health Literacy Precautions Are Associated With a Significant Increase in Medication Adherence in Vulnerable Rheumatology Patients. ACR open rheumatology. 2020 Feb 1; 2(2):110-118.
OBJECTIVE: Our objective was to determine the impact of the Health Literacy Universal Precautions Toolkit, adapted for rheumatology, on medication adherence, patient satisfaction, and feasibility in all patients; its effect on the clinical disease activity index (CDAI) was studied in a rheumatoid arthritis (RA) subpopulation. METHODS: Data collected during a 6-month prospective quality assurance intervention was compared with data from a prior 6-month period. Interventions included 1) encouraging questions, 2) teach-back communication, and 3) brown-bag medication review. Analysis was performed using linear regression or generalized estimating equation (GEE) regression. RESULTS: During the intervention period, 46 physicians completed 1737 patient visits. Questions were encouraged, and teach-back communication was performed in more than 90% of visits. Brown-bag medication reviews were performed in 47% of visits overall and 69% of visits in a subgroup that received additional reminder calls. Visit duration and patient satisfaction were not significantly increased. Adherence for rheumatology-related medications that were prescribed both before and during the intervention increased by 22% (P = 0.001; by GEE). Teach-back communication predicted a statistically significant improvement in medication adherence in this subpopulation (by linear regression). The mean CDAI did not improve; however, African American race and Hispanic ethnicity were associated with a decreased CDAI (by GEE). CONCLUSION: Implementation of the Health Literacy Universal Precautions Toolkit, adapted for rheumatology, improved medication adherence in our safety-net clinic, with particularly strong effects seen with teach-back communication. In certain populations, use of the toolkit may also improve RA disease activity. This is the first study to document improved medication adherence with this intervention in a real-world setting.