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Health Literacy

1. Low Health Literacy Puts Patients at Risk - The Joint Commission Sets Forth Solutions to National Problem

Effective communication is a cornerstone of patient safety," says Dennis S. O'Leary, M.D., president, The Joint Commission. "If patients lack basic understanding of their conditions and the whats and whys of the treatments prescribed, therapeutic goals can never be realized, and patients may instead be placed in harm's way." The detailed solutions developed by a special Joint Commission Expert Roundtable focus on making effective communications a priority in protecting the safety of patients; addressing patient communications needs across the spectrum of care; and pursuing public policy changes that promote better communications between health care practitioners and patients. Failure to provide patients with information about their care in ways that they can understand, The Joint Commission report warns, will continue to undermine other efforts to improve patient safety.



2. Health Literacy: A Prescription to End Confusion

The IOM Committee on Health Literacy released a report in April 2004 entitled Health Literacy: A Prescription to End Confusion. This report examines the body of knowledge in the field of health literacy and recommends actions to promote a health literate society.

IOM defines health literacy as:
--the degree to which individuals can obtain, process, and understand the basic health information and services they need to make appropriate health decisions. But health literacy goes beyond the individual. It also depends upon the skills, preferences, and expectations of health information and care providers: our doctors; nurses; administrators; home health workers; the media; and many others.--

 

3. Plain Talk in Healthcare - New Language Services

Formed in 1993 as the Plain Language Network (http://www.plainlanguagenetwork.org/), the Plain Language Association International is a growing volunteer nonprofit organization of plain-language advocates, professionals, and organizations committed to plain language
 

4. Health Literacy Practices

Health Literacy Practices in Primary Care Settings: Examples From the Field

Low health literacy is widespread among U.S. patients, yet limited research has been done to assess the effects of health literacy practices designed to combat the problem, particularly among safety-net providers in primary care settings. This report presents findings from a 2005 study in which the Association of Clinicians for the Underserved first did an online survey of health care facilities across the country and then followed it up with visits to five selected sites for staff and patient interviews. The study identified five health literacy practices that staff considered especially valuable for their group's patients and potentially applicable to other clinics: a team effort, beginning at the front desk; use of standardized communication tools; use of plain language, face-to-face communication, pictorials, and educational materials; clinicians partner with patients to achieve goals; and organizational commitment to create an environment where health literacy is not assumed.
 

5.   Multimedia Format Materials

Healthy Roads Media http://www.healthyroadsmedia.org/ has multimedia format materials.
 

6. Health Literacy Practices in Primary Care Settings: Examples From the Field

Low health literacy is widespread among U.S. patients, yet limited research has been done to assess the effects of health literacy practices designed to combat the problem, particularly among safety-net providers in primary care settings. This report presents findings from a 2005 study in which the Association of Clinicians for the Underserved first did an online survey of health care facilities across the country and then followed it up with visits to five selected sites for staff and patient interviews. The study identified five health literacy practices that staff considered especially valuable for their group's patients and potentially applicable to other clinics: a team effort, beginning at the front desk; use of standardized communication tools; use of plain language, face-to-face communication, pictorials, and educational materials; clinicians partner with patients to achieve goals; and organizational commitment to create an environment where health literacy is not assumed.
 

7.  Podcast on Health Literacy Out Loud at: 

http://www.healthliteracyoutloud.com/2009/11/09/hlol-27-cahps-health-literacy-item-set-an-interview-with-dr-carolyn-clancy/


8.  Health Literacy & Plain Language Resource Guide by Health Literacy Innovations

http://www.imiaweb.org/uploads/docs/HLI_Resources_Guide.pdf

 

9.  The Plain Language Association International

http://www.plainlanguagenetwork.org/

Additional Documents

>View Joint Commission Solutions

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