Clinical system-generated alerts

to improve GP practice for patients with low health literacy and numeracy: a feasibility study

Project Lead: Professor Gillian Rowlands
Project Team: Professor Richard Thomson, Dr Jing Shen, Dr Lynne Corner, Dr Nick Booth, Dr David Jones
‘Health literacy’ (HL) is the skill to obtain, understand and use health information. We know that 60% of people have low HL, and that many GPs have little understanding of it. 
We have developed (1) a GP HL training course and (2) a way for the GP clinical computer systems to alert GPs when they see a patient who may have lower HL. We have combined these and we want to test this in a study; the ‘target group’ will be GPs, the ‘target behaviour change’ will be GP communication skills, and the ‘outcome’ will be measured using patient feedback on GP communication skills. 
Before we go further it is important to see whether our ‘package’ is designed well, to design and test our outcomes and data collection, and see whether GPs and patients can be recruited (feasibility study). We will recruit 12 GPs from 4 to 6 to practices. 
The outcome will be the quality of GP communication measured with questions developed from the GP patient survey. We will recruit low HL patients who have seen the GPs in the preceding 2 weeks (6 per GP). After the intervention, we will interview a different 6 low HL patients seen by each GP. 
We will run a focus group with the GPs who have taken part, and two focus groups with service user groups, one for people aged 45 and older, and one for younger people, to get their views on how parts of the project has worked, and how it could be improved. 
Two patients are on our steering group and will help us to design the patient interviews and focus groups. 
After this feasibility study, we will apply for funding to do a larger trial.