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Tips on clear writing strategies available online
Tips on style, simple language, and effective assessment
Patient education managers spend a lot of time coordinating the writing and production of educational materials that are clear and easy to read. Many provide classes for health care professionals who wish to develop materials written for patients.
In this section, you will find a list of web sites that focus on effective communication, mainly in the written form. There are style guides, writing tips, and sites that provide lists of plain language suggestions for medical terms and more difficult words. These have been compiled for you to review.
Web sites: Beyond the Brochure: Alternative Approaches to Effective Health Communication: A Guidebook http://www.cdc.gov/cancer/nbccedp/bccpdfs/amcbeyon.pdf
The AMC Cancer Research Center, with collaboration and support from the Atlanta-based Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Division of Cancer Prevention and Control, has developed "Beyond the Brochure" to assist health educators and health communicators in conceiving and producing educational materials and activities that do not rely solely on the printed word. Clear & Simple: Developing Effective Print Materials for Low-Literate Readers http://www.nci.nih.gov/cancerinformation/clearandsimple
This guide produced by the National Cancer Institute in Bethesda, MD, outlines a process for developing publications for people with limited-literacy skills. The process was derived from communications, health education, and literacy research and practice. In addition, writers who have produced low-literacy materials contributed their expertise. Developing Easy-to-Read Patient Education Materials http://www.breasthealthga.org/Education_Program/health_literacy/KJFMLiteracy%20Slides.pdf
This web site contains information from a slide presentation produced by Kara L. Jacobson and Felicia J. Morton of the Breast Health Connection of Georgia, which is a statewide coalition. Developing Patient/Family Education Print Material http://www.cdha.nshealth.ca/patientinformation/developingPFEdMaterial.pdf
Developing Patient/Family Education Print Material was created to provide guidelines and a process to follow in the development of patient/family education print materials. It was produced by Capital Health, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada. Guidelines for Preparing Patient Education Handouts http://www.ucdmc.ucdavis.edu/cne/health_ education/guide.html
These guidelines were produced by the University of California, Davis, Center for Nursing Education. They were designed to help nurses and other health care professionals develop and evaluate patient education handouts. How to Create and Assess Print Materials http://www.hsph.harvard.edu/healthliteracy/materials.html
Tips from Rima E. Rudd from the Harvard School of Public Health: Health Literacy Website. Patient Education http://www.u-write.com/
Information from U-Write.com based in Mill Valley, CA. Tips on what makes an effective handout and hints on writing effective copy that include content, illustrations, design and production. Pfizer Principles of Clear Health Communication http://www.pfizerhealthliteracy.com/pdf/PfizerPrinciples.pdf
This is a handbook for creating patient education materials created by Pfizer, a pharmaceutical company. It was edited by Leonard G. Doak and Cecilia Conrath Doak. Scientific and Technical Information Simply Put http://www.cdc.gov/od/oc/simpput.pdf
Tips for creating easy-to-read print materials that were produced by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, both based in Atlanta. Teaching Patients with Low Literacy Skills http://www.hsph.harvard.edu/healthliteracy/doak.html
A book written by Leonard and Cecilia Doak that can be downloaded for free on the Harvard School of Public Health Web site. It is a classic resource on clear communication principles. The Health Literacy Style manual: http://www.coveringkids.org/resources/docs/stylemanual.pdf
This manual was prepared for Covering Kids & Families, a national program supported by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation with direction provided by the Southern Institute on Children & Families. The manual includes information on writing, formatting and style. The Plain Language Thesaurus for Health Communication http://www.nphic.org/files/editor/file/thesaurus_1007.pdf
The Atlanta-based Center for Disease Control and Prevention's National Center for Health Marketing produced this thesaurus. It provides quick help on easy-to-understand word replacement. For example, replacements for the word "absorption" include "take in and soak up."