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Res Social Adm Pharm. 2012 Jul-Aug;8(4):349-54. doi: 10.1016/j.sapharm.2011.08.001. Epub 2011 Dec 1.

The association between functional health literacy and patient-reported recall of medications at outpatient pharmacies.

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University of California-San Diego (UCSD) Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, 9500 Gilman Drive, La Jolla, CA 92093, USA.



Published literature on assessing the functional health literacy (FHL) level of patients in pharmacy practice is lacking.


To assess FHL in an outpatient pharmacy setting and the associations between FHL and patient recall of medications.


In a cross-sectional study of 79 English-speaking adults recruited from 3 outpatient pharmacies, patients were given the Short Test of Functional Health Literacy in Adults and asked to recall their medication names, dosages, frequencies, and indications. Patients' responses were compared with pharmacy records (medication name, dosage, frequency) and Facts and Comparisons (indication).


Of the 79 patients, 27 had inadequate FHL. Correct medication names were recalled less frequently by patients with inadequate FHL compared with patients with adequate FHL (60% vs 84%, P<.001). Similarly, correct dosages (71% vs 83%, P=.03) and frequencies (62% vs 85%, P<.001) were reported less often by patients with inadequate FHL. There was no significant difference in the frequency of correct indications for medications between the 2 groups.


Inadequate FHL is associated with poor recall of correct medication name, dosage, and administering frequency. Future research to evaluate the effect of pharmacists on improving patients' recall of medication name, dosage, and frequency is warranted.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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