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Open Access Research article

Validation of the diabetes, hypertension and hyperlipidemia (DHL) knowledge instrument in Malaysia

Pauline SM Lai12*, Siew Siang Chua2, Ching Hooi Tan3 and Siew Pheng Chan4

  • * Corresponding author: Pauline SM Lai

  • † Equal contributors

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Primary Care Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, University of Malaya, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

2 Department of Pharmacy, Faculty of Medicine, University of Malaya, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

3 Pharmacy Department, University Malaya Medical Centre, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

4 Department of Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, University of Malaya, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

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BMC Medical Research Methodology 2012, 12:18  doi:10.1186/1471-2288-12-18

Published: 24 February 2012



Patient's knowledge on diabetes, hypertension and hyperlipidaemia and its medications can be used as one of the outcome measures to assess the effectiveness of educational intervention. To date, no such instrument has been validated in Malaysia. Therefore, the aim of this study was to evaluate the validity and reliability of the Diabetes, Hypertension and Hyperlipidemia (DHL) knowledge instrument for assessing the knowledge of patients with type 2 diabetes in Malaysia.


A 28-item instrument which comprised of 5 domains: diabetes, hypertension, hyperlipidemia, medications and general issues was designed and tested. One point was given for every correct answer, whilst zero was given for incorrect answers. Scores ranged from 0 to 28, which were then converted into percentage. This was administered to 77 patients with type 2 diabetes in a tertiary hospital, who were on medication(s) for diabetes and who could understand English (patient group), and to 40 pharmacists (professional group). The DHL knowledge instrument was administered again to the patient group after one month. Excluded were patients less than 18 years old.


Flesch reading ease was 60, which is satisfactory, while the mean difficulty factor(SD) was 0.74(0.21), indicating that DHL knowledge instrument was moderately easy. Internal consistency of the instrument was good, with Cronbach's α = 0.791. The test-retest scores showed no significant difference for 26 out of the 28 items, indicating that the questionnaire has achieved stable reliability. The overall mean(SD) knowledge scores was significantly different between the patient and professional groups [74.35(14.88) versus 93.84(6.47), p < 0.001]. This means that the DHL knowledge instrument could differentiate the knowledge levels of participants. The DHL knowledge instrument shows similar psychometric properties as other validated questionnaires.


The DHL knowledge instrument shows good promise to be adopted as an instrument for assessing diabetic patients' knowledge concerning their disease conditions and medications in Malaysia.

Validation; Diabetes; Knowledge instrument; Malaysia