Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Legacy Department

Industrial Engineering

Committee Chair/Advisor

David Neyens, PhD, MPH

Committee Member

Scott J. Mason, PhD

Committee Member

Ashley Kay Childers, PhD, CPHQ


With new healthcare reform initiatives, (e.g., the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act) hospitals have additional requirements to reduce avoidable readmissions. This results in identifying the needs for improving the hospital discharge process, improving care transitions and discharge instructions, and increasing overall patient health literacy. In terms of discharge instructions, one of the most influential factors to patients' understanding and compliance with their prescribed health regimen is the document's readability. The study goal is to examine how adjusting the discharge instructions' reading level and using human factors design guidelines can influence a novice user's ability to read, comprehend, and recall information from discharge instructions. In this study, a novice user is serving as a caregiver who was not present during discharge. In addition to information accuracy, this study explores discharge instruction usability based on search efficiency, which is quantified with eye-tracking data and subjective measures. Insights from the results suggest that there are differences in comprehension and recall performance, and search efficiency between different formats and readability levels for the discharge instructions that can lead to design recommendations for discharge instructions. These recommendations can result in improve comprehension and support standardized discharge form initiatives. Overall, there is the potential to advance health literacy, which can contribute to efforts to reduce avoidable readmissions and improve overall health of vulnerable health care users.



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