Date of Publication


Project Team

Rosemary Dale, Margaret Aitken


Purpose: Low numeracy and health literacy are common problems that negatively influence healthy decision-making. Laboratory test results are often given to patients without consideration of health numeracy or literacy. This project aims to pilot a visual aid for common test results and gauge patient understanding and motivation for health improvement.

Methods: This is an exploratory pilot study involving the implementation of an evidence-based visual aid for hemoglobin A1c laboratory test results in a primary care clinic. The author developed an electronic tool to pictographically display an individual’s risk based on their A1c value and history of diabetes. Results were mailed to patients using a visual aid “report card,” and participants were polled by telephone about their understanding and behavioral intentions.

Results: 35 visual aids were sent to patients, with 17 responding to the survey. 82 percent found visual aids to be both insightful and non-confusing, 65 percent found them useful, and 94 percent would like to see a similar format in the future. The majority of patients felt they should change at least one lifestyle factor to improve their A1c, particularly those with A1c levels not at goal.

Conclusion: Patients largely accepted the visual aid for A1c results and suggested improved clarity regarding results. Visual aids may inspire patients to consider behavioral changes such as increased exercise and improved diet. However, further study is needed to investigate whether patients do change behavior or A1c results improve in response to visual aid utilization.

Document Type


Included in

Nursing Commons