Date of Award

Spring 2024

Project Type

Clinical Doctorate

College or School




Program or Major


Degree Name


First Advisor

Cathleen Colleran


BACKGROUND: Patients, especially the elderly, are at high risk for post hospital complications related to poor medication adherence. Addressing health and medication literacy limitations during their inpatient encounter closes critical gaps in a patient’s understanding of their medication regimen. The project goal was to improve the patient experience related to communication about medicines during their inpatient encounter. The intervention implemented was the introduction of health literacy universal precaution concepts and teach-back methodology for medication education.

METHODS: Interdisciplinary educational sessions were created and implemented for nurses, hospitalists, and respiratory therapists. Additionally, at the elbow support was provided throughout the implementation phase to increase compliance and confidence of staff. On the day of discharge, patient responses to three patient experience questions associated with medication education were collected.

RESULTS: Following an interdisciplinary staff education effort, all three patient experience questions related to medication were improved. The greatest change was in the question “Before giving you any new medicine, how often did hospital staff describe possible side effects in a way that you could understand?” increasing from 48% of patients responding “Always” to 68%.

CONCLUSIONS: Both increasing staff knowledge of the prevalence of poor health literacy and its impact on medication adherence has made a difference in the patient experience scores collected at discharge. This quality improvement project focused on the verbal communication aspect of medication education in the inpatient setting. Future work will encompass other learning methods through the lens of health literacy universal precautions.