AHRQ Health Literacy Tools for Use in Pharmacies

This site provides pharmacists with recently released health literacy tools and other resources from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ).

Recognizing that pharmacies may need additional knowledge and assistance to improve their health literacy practices, the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) has developed four new health literacy tools for pharmacy and a set of curricular tools for pharmacy faculty:

  1. Pharmacy Health Literacy Assessment Tool & User's Guide.
  2. Training Program for Pharmacy Staff on Communication.
  3. Telephone Reminder Tool To Help Refill Medicines On Time.

Help with Using AHRQ Tools

Is Our Pharmacy Meeting Patients' Needs? A Pharmacy Health Literacy Assessment Tool User's Guide

This tool is a comprehensive guide to help pharmacies assess how well they are set up to serve patients with limited health literacy.

Why use this tool?

  • See if you and your staff are meeting patient needs.
  • Detect potential barriers for patients with limited literacy skills to comprehending pharmacy information.
  • Identify opportunities to improve your customer service.

This tool consists of four parts:

  • Part I: Assessment Tour of the Pharmacy.
  • Part II: Pharmacy Staff Survey.
  • Part III: Guide for Focus Groups With Patients.
  • Part IV: Using Assessment Results.

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Strategies To Improve Communication Between Staff and Patients: Training Program for Pharmacy Staff

This training program is intended for pharmacy staff members who regularly interact with patients and provide patients with health information. The training program:

  • Introduces pharmacists, pharmacy technicians, and other pharmacy staff to the problem of low health literacy.
  • Identifies implications of the problem.
  • Explains techniques for pharmacy staff members to improve communication with patients who may have limited health literacy skills.

The training program includes: PowerPoint® slides, handouts, and notes for the trainer or presenter.

Get started
Strategies to Improve Communication Between Pharmacists and Patients: Curriculum Guide, PDF File, 250 KB

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Automated Telephone Reminders: A Tool To Help Refill Medicines On Time

An automated telephone reminder system calls patients to remind them to refill their prescriptions and allows patients to order their refills on the phone. These systems can be difficult for patients with limited health literacy to use. This literacy-friendly telephone script is provided for use by pharmacies who want to provide automated refill reminder calls to patients to improve adherence with medication regimens.

Get started:
Guide: Automated Telephone Reminders

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Help With Using AHRQ Tools

The following links provide support specifically for the Pharmacy Health Literacy Assessment Tool and User's Guide:

Spanish Translation of Facilitator's Guide for Patient Focus Groups
A translated version of the Facilitator's Guide for Patient Focus Groups is available (PDF File, 82 KB).

As part of the Pharmacy Health Literacy Center Web site, AHRQ is also providing a list of organizations that may be useful for pharmacists. The following organizations may be a good place to start for pharmacists interested in securing assistance or support in implementing the AHRQ tools.

American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy (AACP)
The over 100 U.S.-based colleges and schools of pharmacy may be helpful resources for pharmacists interested in identifying faculty members, pharmacy residents, or pharmacy students interested in health literacy or a research project, for example.

American Evaluation Association (AEA)
The American Evaluation Association is a professional association of evaluators, and has a Web site tool, "find an evaluator," that helps identify evaluators in each State. Pharmacists may be interested in hiring an evaluator to complete the Assessment Tool, for example.

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Page last reviewed October 2014
Internet Citation: AHRQ Health Literacy Tools for Use in Pharmacies. October 2014. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Rockville, MD. http://www.ahrq.gov/professionals/quality-patient-safety/pharmhealthlit/tools.html