Using Effective Provider-Patient Communication to Improve Cancer Screening Among Low Literacy Patients

Tulane University School of Medicine

This study was designed to help primary care physicians use effective cancer risk communication and shared decision-making skills to improve patients’ adherence to preventive health measures such as cancer screenings. Limited health literacy develops with improper understanding and knowledge about health risks and susceptibility. Eighteen primary care physicians from five safety-net clinics in New Orleans, LA participated in a cluster randomized control trial to train physicians to effectively counsel patients with limited health literacy. The long-term objective of the trial is to assess whether change in physicians’ communication behavior is associated with patients’ receipt of age-and gender appropriate breast, cervical and colorectal cancer screenings.


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