Minnesota Health Literacy Partnership Blog

The importance of relevant and accessible health information

When it comes to communication, it’s not just what you say but how you say it.

Health information can be technical and complex, and there can be an over-reliance on written communication. That’s why it’s important for patients and their caregivers to have access to usable information presented in a variety of ways so they can understand diagnoses, make treatment and prevention decisions, and evaluate health risks.

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Health Literacy Month: Tools to help improve health literacy

Health Literacy Month: Tools to help improve health literacy

Each October, health professionals and organizations across the country celebrate Health Literacy Month. It’s a time to remember the importance of health literacy. And for the Minnesota Health Literacy Partnership, it’s also a great time to share ways you and other health professionals can improve health literacy within your organization and community.

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Making health information understandable and jargon-free

Nearly 90% of Americans have difficulty using everyday health information that is routinely available. That makes it harder for patients to understand their options and make responsible, well-informed health decisions.

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Health Literacy Out Loud #64: Chronic Engagement: Habits That Support Good Health

(Reposted with permission)

Jan Berger, MD, MJ, is the Chief Medical Officer at Silverlink Communications. She leads Silverlink’s population health initiatives in areas such as adherence, clinical messaging, engagement and health behavior change. Dr. Berger also is active on numerous national committees on quality and is the Editor in Chief of the American Journal of Pharmacy Benefit.  In all these roles, Dr. Berger is passionate that communications can significantly improve health outcomes.

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Health Literacy Out Loud Podcast #61: The Importance of Empathy in Health Communication

Leslie Bank is Director of Customer Service at Montefiore Health Care System in Bronx, New York. She is also the co-author of, “I’m Sorry to Hear That…Real Life Responses to Patients’ 101 Most Common Complaints About Health Care.”

In this podcast, she talks with Helen Osborne about:

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Health Literacy Out Loud #58: From the Tooth’s Point of View: Communicating Serious Health Messages with Wit and Whimsy

In this latest podcast from Helen Osborne interviews Jeanette Courtad DDS, a practicing dentist. Dr. Courtad has worked with patients of all ages—from outreach programs at primary schools to now being the dentist at the Colorado School of Mines Student Health Center.

Dr. Courtad is also an artist with a lifetime of experience painting, dancing, and sculpting. She combines her artistic talents with a passion for educating children about the need for better oral hygiene in her new book, Toothful Tales: How We Survived the Sweet Attack.

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Health Literacy Out Loud #56: Helping Others Understand Health Messages

Lisa M. Schwartz, MD, M.S., and Steven Woloshin, MD, MS, are general internists at the White River Junction Veterans Administration Medical Center in Vermont. They also are professors of medicine, and community and family medicine, at Dartmouth Medical School in New Hampshire.

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Health Literacy Out Loud Podcast #55: Health Literacy Milestones and Opportunities

Dr. Ruth Parker is Professor of Medicine and Public Health at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia. She is nationally recognized for her efforts in health literacy research, education, and health policy.

Dr. Parker’s accomplishments are many, including helping to develop the TOFHLA (Test of Functional Health Literacy in Adults) and co-writing the health literacy definition included in many publications and initiatives including the U.S. Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (otherwise known as “Health Care Reform”).

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Health Literacy Out Loud Podcast #54: Dr. David Blumental Talks About Health Information Technology

David Blumenthal MD, MPP serves as the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (or Health IT) under President Barack Obama. Dr. Blumenthal is charged with building a secure nationwide health information system and supporting the widespread, meaningful use of Health IT.
 
Dr. Blumenthal’s credentials are extensive. He not only was a practicing primary care physician but also is a

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Let's talk about Plain Language

One best practice for improving health literacy is to use plain language. Plainlanguage.gov describes plain language as "communication your audience can understand the first time they read or hear it". Written material is in plain language if your audience can:

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