The HHS Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality is in the early stages of developing a “health information rating system” to assess how well electronic health records systems support educating patients.
“In order to fulfill the promise of EHRs for all patients, especially for persons with limited health literacy, clinicians should have a method to determine how easy health education material is for patients to understand and act on, have access to a library of easy-to-understand and actionable materials, understand the relevant capabilities and features of EHRs to provide effective patient education, and be made aware of these resources and information,” according to a notice and request for public comment available here and being published Oct. 5 in the Federal Register.
Consequently, AHRQ’s program will involve developing a rating system, creating a library of patient education materials, reviewing EHR education capabilities and functions, and educating EHR vendors and users. The Oct. 5 notice pertains to the first step: a draft health information rating system that AHRQ has developed.
“The draft HIRS was used by AHRQ researchers to rate two sets of patient health education materials: a set of six education materials related to asthma and a set of six education materials related to colonoscopy. Each of these 12 health education materials received a score for their understandability and actionability. Some of the materials received good scores on the draft HIRS, meaning that the researchers considered them to be understandable or actionable, and some materials received poor scores on the draft HIRS, indicating that the materials had low understandability or low actionability.”
Now, AHRQ intends to have consumers review and score these education materials--identified in the notice by name, publisher and how researchers rated them--to assess their understanding of the materials and what actions to take.
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