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Glycemic control in type 2 diabetes: role of health literacy and shared decision-making

Authors Wang MJ, Hung LC, Lo YT

Received 18 January 2019

Accepted for publication 5 March 2019

Published 24 May 2019 Volume 2019:13 Pages 871—879

DOI https://doi.org/10.2147/PPA.S202110

Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewers approved by Ms Justinn Cochran

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Dr Johnny Chen


Ming-Jye Wang,1,2 Li-Chen Hung,2,3 Yi-Ting Lo4

1Department of Secretariat, National Taiwan University Hospital Hsin-Chu Branch, Hsinchu, Taiwan; 2Department of Healthcare Management, Yuanpei University of Medical Technology, Hsinchu, Taiwan; 3Department of Public Health, China Medical University, Taichung, Taiwan; 4Department of Development and Planning, National Taiwan University Hospital Hsin-Chu Branch, Hsinchu, Taiwan

Background: Improving glycemic control requires that patients actively participate in decisions about how to best live with the disease and adapt to the realities of self-care. Limited health literacy (HL) is related to poorer health outcomes and may make it difficult for patients to participate in shared decision-making (SDM). As such, understanding the relationship between HL and SDM and its impact on diabetes control is an urgent issue.
Methods: A cross-sectional survey was conducted among outpatients with type 2 diabetes in a regional teaching hospital. Purposive sampling was used to recruit eligible 372 patients via self-administered questionnaires. HbA1C values were obtained from each patient’s laboratory assay.
Results: Among the 372 participants, 50.4% of patients preferred physician decision-making, 39.3% preferred SDM, and 10.3% preferred patient decision-making. The physician explaining the illness in colloquial language, having adequate time for discussion, and encouragement from the healthcare provider were the major factors influencing patients’ involvement in SDM. Interactive HL and critical HL had positive correlations with patients’ perceived involvement in SDM. Educational attainment and HL were positively related. The HbA1C values for patient decision-making and physician decision-making were approximately 1.4 times and 1.24 times higher than those of SDM, respectively.
Conclusion: SDM led to better glycemic control. HL increased patients’ perceived involvement in SDM. Therefore, it is necessary to improve levels of HL based on the educational attainment of patients. Physicians explaining illness in colloquial language is the key factor in promoting patients’ perceived involvement in SDM.

Keywords: health literacy, shared decision-making, type 2 diabetes


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