1530 – 1620

Alison Plotzke, CCPA


The relationship between poor health literacy and health status is well-recognized and well-documented. However, there is still substantial gap between translation of information and knowledge between health care providers and patients.

Physician Assistants (PAs) play a significant role, within many areas of medicine, in assessing new patients, continued patient care, and discharging patients. All of these are opportunities for PAs to perform health literacy assessment, including health-related reading fluency, numeracy, and prior knowledge. This allows PAs to deliver tailored health information and to communicate transparently with the patients. PAs can take a leadership role in the development of patient education resources, accounting for individual patients’ needs, and work to implement these changes in all areas of medicine.

When patients comprehend their diagnoses, the proposed treatment and overall care plan, there is enhanced capability for self-management. Consequently, compliance with the proposed regimen is improved. In these instances, health literacy enables patients to be in greater control over their health, including the personal, social and environmental determinants of health that are at play.

Health literacy can be used as an asset to improve overall patient outcomes, equipping PAs as front-line educators. PAs can develop and attain skills in patient advocacy and providing tailored information, which would ultimately lead to overall improved health outcomes.

Learning Objectives:

At the conclusion of this session, the participants will be able to:

  1. Define health literacy amongst Canadian patients and its impact on health outcomes;
  2. Review the factors which mitigate low health literacy;
  3. Discuss the role of PA in developing patient education materials; and
  4. Develop skills PAs can incorporate in their routine practice that will lead to improved health outcomes, discussions surrounding health choices, and patient satisfaction.

Posted in: Saturday, October 20, 2018