This paper introduces the reader to the context for the papers in this journal supplement by describing the background and task assigned to the authors, a short history of the development of the field of literacy and health in Canada, some recent developments and opportunities, some information on the nature and magnitude of the issue, and an overview of the supplement. The publication results from the Second Canadian Conference on Literacy and Health. Authors were asked to summarize what was learned at the conference, what we need to know, and what we need to do to move the field forward in relation to the themes of the conference. The four themes were: Building Best Practices in Literacy and Health; Focusing on Language and Culture; Building Knowledge in Literacy and Health; and Building Healthy Public Policy.
Current debates around the choice of management strategy for patients with atrial fibrillation (AF) combined with limited efficacy and frequent adverse effects of current pharmacotherapies cause uncertainty and confusion, challenging optimal care delivery to AF patients.
To determine gaps in knowledge, skill, and competencies of Canadian physicians caring for patients with AF as well as underlying causes of these gaps.
A mixed-method approach --consisting of qualitative (semistructured interviews) and quantitative data collection techniques (online survey) --was conducted. Findings were triangulated to ensure the reliability and trustworthiness of findings. The combined sample (n = 161) included 43 family physicians/general practitioners, 23 internal medicine specialists, 48 cardiologists, 28 emergency physicians, 14 neurologists, and 5 patients.
Gaps and barriers impeding optimal care were related to an unclear definition of AF, uncertainty of its pathophysiology, and knowledge gaps across the care continuum, including screening, diagnosis, and treatment. Clinical decision-making, individualized patient therapy, communication with patients and between professionals, and application of guidelines were found to be particularly challenging. These issues are discussed in the context of the newly revised Canadian Cardiovascular Society (CCS) AF Guidelines.
Educational gaps exist across the entire continuum of care. Results from this study, along with the 2011 CCS guidelines for AF management, provide direction for solutions through physician education and professional development.
This concluding article comments on what we learned from the conference, what we still need to know, and what we need to do now. It describes what participants said about the impact of the conference and the follow-up steps that have been taken so far. In terms of what we learned, there was agreement on the importance of culture in understanding literacy and health literacy; the importance of context; the integral relationship between literacy and health literacy and the concept of "empowerment;" the value of efforts to improve health through literacy and health literacy; and the need for collaboration. We need more and better information on how our various efforts are working; the cost of low literacy; the links between health, education, and lifelong learning; the needs and strengths of Aboriginal people, and the perspectives of Francophone and ethnocultural groups. Specific topics worthy of pursuit are suggested. They are followed by a list of recommendations from the conference related to focussing on language and culture, and to building best practices, knowledge, and healthy public policy. The paper presents some findings from the conference evaluation, which suggests that the conference met its goals. It concludes by reporting on actions that have been taken to implement the conference recommendations, including the establishment of a Health Literacy Expert Committee and the submission of several funding proposals.
Oncoplastic surgery is the seamless joining of the extirpative and reconstructive aspects of breast surgery that is performed by a single surgeon. A symposium was held at ISW 2007 in Montreal with a prearranged aim to publish an article on the current and historical record of the developing specialty of oncoplastic breast surgery. The presenters and authors are well-known breast surgeons from Australia, Croatia, India, Sweden, and South Africa.