As a result of research efforts led by Barry D. Weiss, MD, University of Arizona
College of Medicine, health-care providers soon will have access to a new tool
designed to assess a patient’s health literacy skills quickly and simply. Knowing if
a patient can understand and act on health information enables the healthcare
provider to tailor their communication and enhance patient understanding. Dr.
Weiss and his team of researchers, working in collaboration with colleagues at the
Univ. of North Carolina, have developed the Newest Vital Sign (NVS),
a simple, six-question assessment based on an ice cream nutrition label,
which can be administered in only three minutes. The NVS, available in both
English and Spanish languages, enables healthcare providers to assess an
individual’s health literacy skills - the ability to read, understand and act upon
health information - quickly and accurately. For details, visit the Annals of
Web site, (www.annfammed.org/
) and view the
November-December 2005 issue.