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1.  The 14-item health literacy scale for Japanese adults (HLS-14) 
Objectives
Most existing tools for measuring health literacy (HL) focus on reading comprehension and numeracy in English speakers. The aim of this study was to develop a generic HL measure for Japanese adults.
Methods
A questionnaire survey was conducted among participants in multiphasic health examinations at a Japanese healthcare facility. HL was measured using the 14-item health literacy scale (HLS-14) that was adapted from the HL scale specific to diabetic patients developed by Ishikawa and colleagues. The 14 items consist of five items for functional HL, five items for communicative HL, and four items for critical HL. The reliability and validity of the HLS-14 were assessed among 1,507 eligible respondents aged 30–69 years.
Results
Explanatory factor analysis produced a three-factor solution that was very similar to the original HL scale. Cronbach’s alpha indicated satisfactory internal consistency of the functional, communicative, and critical HL scores (0.83, 0.85, and 0.76, respectively). There were no floor or ceiling effects in each HL score. Confirmatory factor analysis revealed an acceptable fit of the three-factor model (comparative fit index = 0.912, normed fit index = 0.905, root mean square error of approximation = 0.082). When the two groups with a total HL score above and below the median (50), respectively, were compared, those who could obtain medication information satisfactorily and those who wanted to participate in making medication decisions were more frequently observed in the group with the higher score.
Conclusions
The HLS-14 demonstrated adequate reliability and validity as a generic HL measure for Japanese adults. This scale can be utilized for measuring functional, communicative, and critical HL in the clinical and public health contexts.
doi:10.1007/s12199-013-0340-z
PMCID: PMC3773092  PMID: 23689952
Health literacy; Adult; Japan; Questionnaire; Validity
2.  Validity and Reliability of the Japanese Version of the Newest Vital Sign: A Preliminary Study 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(4):e94582.
Health literacy (HL) refers to the ability to obtain, process, and understand basic health information and services, and is thus needed to make appropriate health decisions. The Newest Vital Sign (NVS) is comprised of 6 questions about an ice cream nutrition label and assesses HL numeracy skills. We developed a Japanese version of the NVS (NVS-J) and evaluated the validity and reliability of the NVS-J in patients with chronic pain. The translation of the original NVS into Japanese was achieved as per the published guidelines. An observational study was subsequently performed to evaluate the validity and reliability of the NVS-J in 43 Japanese patients suffering from chronic pain. Factor analysis with promax rotation, using the Kaiser criterion (eigenvalues ≥1.0), and a scree plot revealed that the main component of the NVS-J consists of three determinative factors, and each factor consists of two NVS-J items. The criterion-related validity of the total NVS-J score was significantly correlated with the total score of Ishikawa et al.'s self-rated HL Questionnaire, the clinical global assessment of comprehensive HL level, cognitive function, and the Brinkman index. In addition, Cronbach's coefficient for the total score of the NVS-J was adequate (alpha = 0.72). This study demonstrated that the NVS-J has good validity and reliability. Further, the NVS-J consists of three determinative factors: “basic numeracy ability,” “complex numeracy ability,” and “serious-minded ability.” These three HL abilities comprise a 3-step hierarchical structure. Adequate HL should be promoted in chronic pain patients to enable coping, improve functioning, and increase activities of daily living (ADLs) and quality of life (QOL).
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0094582
PMCID: PMC3999091  PMID: 24762459
3.  Review of the registration of clinical trials in UMIN-CTR from 2 June 2005 to 1 June 2010 - focus on Japan domestic, academic clinical trials 
Trials  2013;14:333.
Background
Established on 1 June 2005, the University Hospital Medical Information Network Clinical Trials Registry (UMIN-CTR) is the largest clinical trial registry in Japan, and joined the World Health Organization (WHO) registry network in October 2008. Our aim was to understand the registration trend and overall characteristics of Japan domestic, academic (non-industry-funded) clinical trials, which constitute the main body of registrations in UMIN-CTR. In addition, we aimed to investigate the accessibility of clinical trials in UMIN-CTR to people worldwide, as well as the accessibility of clinical trials conducted in Japan but registered abroad to Japanese people in the Japanese language.
Methods
We obtained the data for registrations in UMIN-CTR from the UMIN Center, and extracted Japan domestic, academic clinical trials to analyze their registration trend and overall characteristics. We also investigated how many of the trials registered in UMIN-CTR could be accessed from the International Clinical Trials Registry Platform (ICTRP). Finally, we searched ClinicalTrials.gov for all clinical trials conducted in Japan and investigated how many of them were also registered in Japanese registries. All of the above analyses included clinical trials registered from 2 June 2005 to 1 June 2010.
Results
During the period examined, the registration trend showed an obvious peak around September 2005 and rapid growth from April 2009. Of the registered trials, 46.4% adopted a single-arm design, 34.5% used an active control, only 10.9% were disclosed before trial commencement, and 90.0% did not publish any results. Overall, 3,063 of 3,064 clinical trials registered in UMIN-CTR could be accessed from ICTRP. Only 8.7% of all clinical trials conducted in Japan and registered in ClinicalTrials.gov were also registered in Japanese registries.
Conclusions
The International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE) announcements about clinical trial registration and the Ethical Guidelines for Clinical Research published by the Japanese government are considered to have promoted clinical trial registration in UMIN-CTR. However, problems associated with trial design, retrospective registration, and publication of trial results need to be addressed in future. Almost all clinical trials registered in UMIN-CTR are accessible to people worldwide through ICTRP. However, many trials conducted in Japan but registered abroad cannot be accessed from Japanese registries in Japanese.
doi:10.1186/1745-6215-14-333
PMCID: PMC4015268  PMID: 24124926
UMIN-CTR; Clinical trial registration; Non-industry-funded trial; Accessibility; Comparative effectiveness research; Results publication
4.  Decay of Impact after Self-Management Education for People with Chronic Illnesses: Changes in Anxiety and Depression over One Year 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(6):e65316.
Background
In people with chronic illnesses, self-management education can reduce anxiety and depression. Those benefits, however, decay over time. Efforts have been made to prevent or minimize that “decay of impact”, but they have not been based on information about the decay’s characteristics, and they have failed. Here we show how the decay’s basic characteristics (prevalence, timing, and magnitude) can be quantified. Regarding anxiety and depression, we also report the prevalence, timing, and magnitude of the decay.
Methods
Adults with various chronic conditions participated in a self-management educational program (n = 369). Data were collected with the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale four times over one year. Using within-person effect sizes, we defined decay of impact as a decline of ≥0.5 standard deviations after improvement by at least the same amount. We also interpret the results using previously-set criteria for non-cases, possible cases, and probable cases.
Results
Prevalence: On anxiety, decay occurred in 19% of the participants (70/369), and on depression it occurred in 24% (90/369). Timing: In about one third of those with decay, it began 3 months after the baseline measurement (6 weeks after the educational program ended). Magnitude: The median magnitudes of decay on anxiety and on depression were both 4 points, which was about 1 standard deviation. Early in the follow-up year, many participants with decay moved into less severe clinical categories (e.g., becoming non-cases). Later, many of them moved into more severe categories (e.g., becoming probable cases).
Conclusions
Decay of impact can be identified and quantified from within-person effect sizes. This decay occurs in about one fifth or more of this program’s participants. It can start soon after the program ends, and it is large enough to be clinically important. These findings can be used to plan interventions aimed at preventing or minimizing the decay of impact.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0065316
PMCID: PMC3681854  PMID: 23785418
5.  Use of Online Machine Translation for Nursing Literature: A Questionnaire-Based Survey 
The Open Nursing Journal  2013;7:22-28.
Background:
The language barrier is a significant obstacle for nurses who are not native English speakers to obtain information from international journals. Freely accessible online machine translation (MT) offers a possible solution to this problem.
Aim:
To explore how Japanese nursing professionals use online MT and perceive its usability in reading English articles and to discuss what should be considered for better utilisation of online MT lessening the language barrier.
Method:
In total, 250 randomly selected assistants and research associates at nursing colleges across Japan answered a questionnaire examining the current use of online MT and perceived usability among Japanese nurses, along with the number of articles read in English and the perceived language barrier. The items were rated on Likert scales, and t-test, ANOVA, chi-square test, and Spearman’s correlation were used for analyses.
Results:
Of the participants, 73.8% had used online MT. More than half of them felt it was usable. The language barrier was strongly felt, and academic degrees and English proficiency level were associated factors. The perceived language barrier was related to the frequency of online MT use. No associated factor was found for the perceived usability of online MT.
Conclusion:
Language proficiency is an important factor for optimum utilisation of MT. A need for education in the English language, reading scientific papers, and online MT training was indicated. Cooperation with developers and providers of MT for the improvement of their systems is required.
doi:10.2174/1874434601307010022
PMCID: PMC3580755  PMID: 23459140
Japanese nurses; language barrier; nursing literature; online machine translation; usability; questionnaire.
6.  Preliminary study of online machine translation use of nursing literature: quality evaluation and perceived usability 
BMC Research Notes  2012;5:635.
Background
Japanese nurses are increasingly required to read published international research in clinical, educational, and research settings. Language barriers are a significant obstacle, and online machine translation (MT) is a tool that can be used to address this issue. We examined the quality of Google Translate® (English to Japanese and Korean to Japanese), which is a representative online MT, using a previously verified evaluation method. We also examined the perceived usability and current use of online MT among Japanese nurses.
Findings
Randomly selected nursing abstracts were translated and then evaluated for intelligibility and usability by 28 participants, including assistants and research associates from nursing universities throughout Japan. They answered a questionnaire about their online MT use. From simple comparison of mean scores between two language pairs, translation quality was significantly better, with respect to both intelligibility and usability, for Korean-Japanese than for English-Japanese. Most respondents perceived a language barrier. Online MT had been used by 61% of the respondents and was perceived as not useful enough.
Conclusion
Nursing articles translated from Korean into Japanese by an online MT system could be read at an acceptable level of comprehension, but the same could not be said for English-Japanese translations. Respondents with experience using online MT used it largely to grasp the overall meanings of the original text. Enrichment in technical terms appeared to be the key to better usability. Users will be better able to use MT outputs if they improve their foreign language proficiency as much as possible. Further research is being conducted with a larger sample size and detailed analysis.
doi:10.1186/1756-0500-5-635
PMCID: PMC3576310  PMID: 23151362
Online machine translation; Evaluation; Usability; Nursing literature; Japanese nurses
7.  Predicting complete loss to follow-up after a health-education program: number of absences and face-to-face contact with a researcher 
Background
Research on health-education programs requires longitudinal data. Loss to follow-up can lead to imprecision and bias, and complete loss to follow-up is particularly damaging. If that loss is predictable, then efforts to prevent it can be focused on those program participants who are at the highest risk. We identified predictors of complete loss to follow-up in a longitudinal cohort study.
Methods
Data were collected over 1 year in a study of adults with chronic illnesses who were in a program to learn self-management skills. Following baseline measurements, the program had one group-discussion session each week for six weeks. Follow-up questionnaires were sent 3, 6, and 12 months after the baseline measurement. A person was classified as completely lost to follow-up if none of those three follow-up questionnaires had been returned by two months after the last one was sent.
We tested two hypotheses: that complete loss to follow-up was directly associated with the number of absences from the program sessions, and that it was less common among people who had had face-to-face contact with one of the researchers. We also tested predictors of data loss identified previously and examined associations with specific diagnoses.
Using the unpaired t-test, the U test, Fisher's exact test, and logistic regression, we identified good predictors of complete loss to follow-up.
Results
The prevalence of complete loss to follow-up was 12.2% (50/409). Complete loss to follow-up was directly related to the number of absences (odds ratio; 95% confidence interval: 1.78; 1.49-2.12), and it was inversely related to age (0.97; 0.95-0.99). Complete loss to follow-up was less common among people who had met one of the researchers (0.51; 0.28-0.95) and among those with connective tissue disease (0.29; 0.09-0.98). For the multivariate logistic model the area under the ROC curve was 0.77.
Conclusions
Complete loss to follow-up after this health-education program can be predicted to some extent from data that are easy to collect (age, number of absences, and diagnosis). Also, face-to-face contact with a researcher deserves further study as a way of increasing participation in follow-up, and health-education programs should include it.
doi:10.1186/1471-2288-11-145
PMCID: PMC3215183  PMID: 22032732
8.  Health literacy and health communication 
Health communication consists of interpersonal or mass communication activities focused on improving the health of individuals and populations. Skills in understanding and applying information about health issues are critical to this process and may have a substantial impact on health behaviors and health outcomes. These skills have recently been conceptualized in terms of health literacy (HL). This article introduces current concepts and measurements of HL, and discusses the role of HL in health communication, as well as future research directions in this domain. Studies of HL have increased dramatically during the past few years, but a gap between the conceptual definition of HL and its application remains. None of the existing instruments appears to completely measure the concept of HL. In particular, studies on communication/interaction and HL remain limited. Furthermore, HL should be considered not only in terms of the characteristics of individuals, but also in terms of the interactional processes between individuals and their health and social environments. Improved HL may enhance the ability and motivation of individuals to find solutions to both personal and public health problems, and these skills could be used to address various health problems throughout life. The process underpinning HL involves empowerment, one of the major goals of health communication.
doi:10.1186/1751-0759-4-18
PMCID: PMC2990724  PMID: 21054840
9.  Patient Contribution to the Medical Dialogue and Perceived Patient-Centeredness 
Background
Relatively few studies have directly addressed the interaction dynamics and consequences of a companion's presence in the medical visit, and their findings have been contradictory.
Objectives
To examine how patient's contribution to the medical dialogue, with or without the presence of a visit companion, is related to the perception of the medical visit as patient-centered.
Design
Observational study using pre- and postvisit questionnaires and audiotape recording of medical visits.
Participants
One hundred and fifty-five patients aged 65 or over; 63 in medical visits that included the presence of a companion and 82 in visits that did not include a companion.
Main Outcome Measure
Patient ratings of visit patient-centeredness.
Results
Long visits (greater than 10 minutes long) and visits in which patients were verbally active were rated as more patient-centered by patients than other visits. Since patients were generally less verbally active in visits that included a companion, accompanied visits, especially if they were less than 10 minutes long, received lower patient-centered ratings than others. The presence of a companion was not related to length of the visit, suggesting that the verbal activity of the companion was off-set by decreased verbal activity of the patient.
Conclusions
Our results have suggested that patients are more likely to perceive their physician and visit as patient-centered when they have an opportunity to engage directly in the medical dialogue. A minimal amount of “talk-time” for patients themselves should be safeguarded even in a short visit, when a companion is present.
doi:10.1111/j.1525-1497.2005.0200.x
PMCID: PMC1490229  PMID: 16191136
patient-centeredness; patient participation; patient-physician communication; companion; elderly
10.  Hidden decay of impact after education for self-management of chronic illnesses: hypotheses 
Chronic Illness  2013;9(1):73-80.
People with chronic illnesses can benefit from self-management education. However, those benefits are said to decay over time (there is some evidence that this ‘decay of impact’ does occur), and the reinforcements used to prevent that decay appear to be ineffective. We hypothesize that the reinforcements appear to be ineffective because decay of impact occurs only in a subgroup of these programs' participants, so any benefits of reinforcements in that subgroup are concealed by whole-group summary statistics. We also hypothesize that reinforcements can benefit those who need them – those who would otherwise have decay. One approach to testing these hypotheses requires analysis of individual-level data, which is uncommon in this field. Some useful data could come from studies that have already been completed, but the strongest evidence will require prospectively designed tests in future trials. If the hypotheses are false, then time and resources spent on reinforcements can be saved or redirected. If the hypotheses are true, then reinforcements can be implemented with less waste and they can be made more effective. These programs can also be improved to better fit their users’ needs, and there can be a new basis for evaluating the programs’ effectiveness.
doi:10.1177/1742395312453351
PMCID: PMC3697900  PMID: 22777566
Chronic illness; self-management; backsliding; decay of impact; reinforcement

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