Inaccurate estimation of patients’ literacy, numeracy linked to poor glycemic control
medwireNews: Incorrect perception of diabetes patients’ literacy and numeracy by healthcare providers is associated with poor glycemic control, research suggests.
As reported at the virtual ADA 80th Scientific Sessions, the study included 118 patients with diabetes, of whom 38.5% had low literacy as measured using the REALM-SF tool, and 50.8% had low numeracy on the Diabetes Numeracy Test-5.
Rasheca Logendran (University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, USA) told delegates that healthcare providers (HCPs) “were largely able to correctly identify their patients’ literacy level,” estimating the right level of literacy in 75.4% of patients. However, she said that HCPs “were seen to largely incorrectly identify their patients’ numeracy levels,” overestimating them on 46.6% of occasions and underestimating on 7.6% of occasions.
The researchers found that patients whose literacy levels were overestimated by HCPs had significantly higher glycated hemoglobin (HbA1c) levels than those whose levels were correctly estimated or underestimated, with an average between-group difference of 1.56%.
Similarly, patients whose numeracy levels were overestimated had a significant 0.68% higher HbA1c level than those whose levels were correctly estimated or underestimated. When the numeracy analysis was broken down by diabetes type, this association only remained significant in patients with type 1 diabetes.
“These results suggest the need for an increased focus on numeracy in diabetes, especially in individuals with diabetes type 1,” said Logendran.
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