Skip to main navigationSkip to main content
The University of Southampton
Health Sciences

University of Southampton awarded grant for patient information

Published: 14 June 2012
Dr Jo Adams

A research team at the University of Southampton is going to investigate the usefulness of written and electronic health information for patients who have arthritis and low levels of literacy.

The team, led by Dr Joanna Adams in Health Sciences, has been awarded a £113,603 grant over two years by Arthritis Research UK, the UK's fourth largest medical research charity.

Dr Adams, senior lecturer and professional lead for occupational therapy at the University of Southampton Faculty of Health Sciences, said: "We know that patients with low levels of literacy are more likely to have poor long-term health.  The situation is made more difficult because a lot of health information is written at too high a level for them.

"Our research will raise awareness of the needs of people with inflammatory arthritis and lower levels of literacy and identify how information for them can be improved."

More than one in six in the UK, that's 10 million people, face a daily struggle against the pain and disability of arthritis. An estimated 30% of GP consultations are about arthritis [1] and treating musculoskeletal conditions costs the NHS over £5 billion a year [2].

In the US, education programmes for arthritis patients with low levels of literacy have been shown to provide additional benefits beyond those achieved by medication alone [3]. But very few trials investigating this issue have been conducted outside the US and only one trial has been conducted among people with musculoskeletal disease.

Dr Adams added, "Better information and education about arthritis for patients with low levels of literacy will make a huge difference to them, helping provide better long-term management of this chronic condition."

Notes for editors


1 The Musculoskeletal Services Framework, Department of Health 2006

2 NHS programme budget spent 2010/11

3 Superio-Cabuslax, E., M. Ward, and K. Lorig, Patient Education Interventions in Osteoarthritis and

Rheumatoid Arthritis: A Meta-Analytic Comparison with Non Steroidal Anti Inflammatory Drug Treament.

Arthritis Care and Research 1996. 9(4): p. 292-301.

About Arthritis Research UK

Arthritis Research UK is the leading authority on arthritis in the UK, conducting scientific and medical research into all types of arthritis and musculoskeletal conditions. It is the UK's fourth largest medical research charity and the only charity solely committed to funding high quality research into the cause, treatment and cure of arthritis.

Privacy Settings