2022 Speaker Profile

Martie Carnie headshot

Martie Carnie, Patient Advocate; Senior Patient Engagement Advisor; Co-Chair of the Brigham and Women’s Hospital Patient and Family Advisory Council Steering Committee

Martie Carnie is a 31-year, four-time survivor of breast cancer and melanoma. She is a 30-year Patient Advocate, Senior Patient Engagement Advisor, and Co-Chair of the Brigham and Women’s Hospital Patient and Family Advisory Council Steering Committee. She is active on multiple councils, committees, and projects. As a patient voice at the Brigham Research Institute, she serves as a co-investigator and provides the patient experience perspective for research. She is a PCORI Ambassador and an Institute for Healthcare Improvement faculty member on patient engagement. Carnie speaks internationally at conferences and seminars about patient-centered care, the Patient Experience, Patient Engagement,patient safety, health literacy, and the voice of the patient.


Improving the Patient Experience Using Health Literacy

Our goal for health literacy at Brigham and Women’s Hospital is to collaborate with clinical staff, providers, and patient/family advisors to create patient-facing materials at the 5th-6th grade reading level to ensure understanding. Health literacy is important because patients with low health literacy are more likely to visit an emergency room, have more hospital stays, less likely to follow treatment plans and have higher mortality rates.

Health literacy is important because:

  • Patients need to understand their role in their healthcare experience and the hospital can help change health behaviors

  • Communication engages patients and families in their care and increases patient satisfaction

  • The information they receive should be at a level they are able to understand so they can comprehend what is being discussed

  • Once patients fully understand their healthcare situation, then they can partner with their provider in shared decision making