Publication Date

Summer 9-7-2017

Document Type



Low health literacy impacts patient safety and negatively affects outcomes. Due to the nature of outpatient procedures, and fast door to exit times, educating patients in an effective manner is an important task to improve outcomes and ensure patient safety. This evidence-based practice project examined current discharge instructions, given to general surgery patients and found the instructions to be written on an eleventh to twelfth grade level. The current methods of educating ambulatory surgery patients was also changed, incorporating health literacy into the education process to allow patients to better understand how to care for themselves at home once discharged. The instructions were rewritten at a lower grade level using simple words and discussed with the patients preoperatively prior to sedation or anesthesia. Postoperatively the use of teach-back was added to assess the knowledge learned preoperatively and reiterate what was taught previously. The data was examined prior to the intervention and compared to post intervention data. Data collected included the Outpatient Ambulatory Survey Consumers Assessment of Providers and Systems (OAS CAHPS), Likert survey data during follow up phone calls, and patient satisfaction with teach-back technique. Incorporating health literacy methods and changing the method of presenting discharge instructions aided in increasing patients understanding and satisfaction.