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July 1, 2011

View Archives Issues

  • You can be more than a go-to person for advice on clear communication

    To address the issues of health literacy, St. Vincent Charity Medical Center in Cleveland, OH, made a radical move. It abolished its patient education committee and formed the Health Literacy Institute that consists of an interdisciplinary team of caregivers who are dedicated to improving health literacy through better communication.
  • 7 goals can help guide projects

    Many healthcare institutions are using the seven goals stated in the National Action Plan to Improve Health Literacy developed by the Department of Health and Human Services to guide health literacy initiatives. The goals include:
  • Get it `write' with focus on written documents

    The topic of health literacy can be daunting, as there are many factors to address and it impacts the culture of an institution. It is difficult to know how to get your arms around the issue, says Becky Smith, RN, MA, manager of the Section of Patient Education at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN.
  • Give direction to health literacy

    During the time a document on plain language was being written at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN, the national health literacy movement was under way.
  • Low-literacy material targets correct OC use

    Your physician has just reviewed instructions on proper oral contraceptive (OC) use with the patient, a 22-year-old mother of three. The physician asks if there any questions, and send her to the front desk with a supply of pill packs and written instructions. But how do you know she received the information she needs to take her pills properly?
  • Reinforce message with phones, cells

    How can staff bolster patients' understanding of correct oral contraceptive use after they leave the office? Try these tips from the On the Same Page OCP Health Literacy Project Training Manual:
  • Do dialysis patients understand health info?

    Many patients on dialysis might not understand medical information critical to their wellbeing, according to a study appearing online for the Clinical Journal of the American Society Nephrology (CJASN).
  • Support and reinforce teaching best practices

    When Lorene Payne, EdD, MSN, RN, CNE, a senior nursing instructor in the Nursing Professional Development Department at MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, TX, began work on her doctorate, she decided to focus on the question: "Are we as nursing professionals actually putting into practice the methods that help our patients best understand information even though many of them are low health literate?"
  • Survey examines teaching techniques

    To assess whether nurses practice teaching techniques to improve patient comprehension, they were asked how often they use these techniques "never," "rarely," "occasionally," "most of the time," and "always." Following is their responses:
  • Go online to find literacy resources

    Searching for information on health literacy can be a time-consuming task. Yet information is required to support the need for initiatives, create clear and concise documents, or assess the status of an organization in regards to health literacy.
  • Game on: Don a mask and play your role

    How do you think patients' family members would fare in game in which they assume the identity of a character in a computer-based video simulation that calls for key decisions to ensure infection prevention? They can find out by playing "Partnering to Heal" at
  • Training supportspatient partnership

    The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has released "Partnering to Heal," which supports Partnership for Patients: Better Care, Lower Costs, a public-private partnership to improve health care.