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Research Letter
September 2016

Evaluation of Patient Information Posters Directing Patients to Access a Health Information Website

Author Affiliations
  • 1Divisions of Hand and Pediatric Orthopaedic Surgery, Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Hospital for Special Surgery, New York, New York
JAMA Surg. 2016;151(9):880-881. doi:10.1001/jamasurg.2016.1235

Limited health literacy has been associated with poor health outcomes and suboptimal use of health care services.1 Low socioeconomic status and public health insurance are risk factors for limited health literacy.2 While this was originally secondary to limited internet access,3 the so-called digital divide has abated as internet usage via cell phone has become ubiquitous over the past decade.4 Thus, a new invisible digital divide is present due to factors such as differences in search terms used by patients when searching for health information on the web.5

An underused resource for patient education is the waiting room. The right tools can serve as a bridge from the physical wait location to digital domains that contain robust health information. We initiated a physician-promoted campaign to direct patients to a website containing well-written and accurate patient information on clinical conditions that affect the hand and upper extremity. Our goal was to determine if we could effectively direct patients to this patient information website through passive means regardless of socioeconomic background.