Stephen Tarnoff, MD, in Modern Healthcare on improving patient health literacy, outcomes

Steve Tarnoff, WPMG
Steve Tarnoff, MD

Kaiser Permanente’s personalized approach to disseminating information to its patients, resulting in better informed patients and outcomes, is highlighted in a recent Modern Healthcare story, which quotes Stephen Tarnoff, MD, president and executive medical director of the Washington Permanente Medical Group.

The article, “Industry slow to improve patient health literacy,” underscores recognition across the health care industry of the importance of having a health-literate patient population, noting that only an estimated 12 percent of individuals in the United States are considered to have a proficient level of literacy to effectively manage their health and prevent disease.

Dr. Tarnoff says in the story that leveraging information from Kaiser Permanente’s electronic health record has been key in helping patients make more informed decisions. He also says that clinicians engage in a “robust decision-making process” with patients any time there is a question about the best course of action.

He adds that to assist patients in weighing their care options, Permanente physicians use several “decision aids” that include brochures, DVDs, and online interactive tools. A study on the efficacy of such tools by Kaiser Permanente in 2012 found the decision aids led to a 26 percent decrease in total knee replacements and 38 percent fewer total hip replacements.

“We find that we have a lot more satisfied patients with fewer complications,” said Dr. Tarnoff.

To read the entire story, visit the Modern Healthcare website.