A number of excellent web sites are available to provide information to help health care organizations create systemwide initiatives for clear communication. The following are four examples:
On this web site’s menu, under health literacy, you will find information on the Chicago-based American Medical Association’s health literacy toolkits, health literacy videos, health literacy grants, and health literacy partnerships. The tool kits can be purchased for $35, and are free to qualifying organizations.
Sections on this site include information for providers, patients, and large-scale implementers such as health plans and health departments. The site has information on low health literacy, including research studies. It also has lists of literacy resources, explanations of interaction techniques, and simple interventions. A handout for patients has tips for clear health communication as well as the three most important questions to ask their health care provider to increase understanding: What is my main problem? What do I need to do? Why is it important for me to do this? The sheet also has a section where patients can write down what they need to do to make healthy lifestyle changes.
This web site has information on health literacy and how to improve it. Tools for improving patient understanding include signs of low health literacy.
• www.chcs.org (Type "Health Literacy" in key word search at left.)
This web site offers materials on the impact of low literacy skills on annual health care expenditures, resources for locating health literacy publications, and health literacy fact sheets.
Source: Janet Ohene-Frempong, MS, President, JO Frempong & Associates, Elkins Park, PA.