Objective To investigate the influence of patient factors on patients’ reading and seeking of written medicine information (WMI).
Design A cross-sectional questionnaire study.
Main variables studied Patient's health locus of control, coping style, health literacy, demographics and disease state (independent variables) and patient's interest and likelihood in reading and seeking WMI (dependent variables).
Main outcome measures Patient factors predicting interest in reading and seeking WMI.
Setting and participants Patients (total n = 479) from three Rheumatology/Pain clinics in teaching hospitals (n = 217) and 40 community pharmacies (n = 262) in metropolitan Sydney, Australia.
Results The majority of patients were interested and likely to read WMI about their prescription medicines. However, not many were likely to seek WMI and not many frequently sought WMI. Using logistic regression, patients’ interest in reading WMI was predicted by their coping style [monitor vs. blunter, odds ratio (OR) = 2.19, confidence interval (CI) = 1.17–4.10], health literacy levels (adequate vs. inadequate/marginal, OR = 2.86, CI = 1.16–7.05) and occupation (blue-collar vs. homemaker, OR = 3.42, CI = 0.09–0.88) whilst patients’ interest in seeking WMI was predicted by their disease state (pain/rheumatology condition vs. hypertension, OR = 1.84, CI = 1.11–3.05), health locus of control (powerful other, OR = 0.95, CI = 0.90–0.99) and health literacy levels (adequate vs. inadequate/marginal, OR = 2.7, CI = 1.17–6.39).
Conclusions Patients’ interest in reading and seeking WMI were influenced by several patient factors including disease state, health locus of control, coping style, health literacy levels and occupation. Furthermore, the results highlighted that reading and seeking WMI were regarded as distinct activities influenced by different factors. These findings may guide health professionals in assessing the utility of WMI for different patient groups and more broadly in the tailoring of patient education to meet patient needs.