Healthcare information and literacy
Here are the findings of 2,659 outpatients surveyed a two hospitals 26% did not understand when their next appointment was scheduled and 42% did not understand to take their medicine on an empty stomach. Approximately 21% of Americans are classified as marginally and functionally illiterate. It is posited that more than 50% are unable to read and understand health related handouts. WHY?
Some interesting information about the written word
- Health education material is written at the 8th-9th grade level
- Hospital consent forms are written at the college level
Creating user friendly readable pamphlets
- Assess your current demographics
- Use tools such to assess literacy such as: REALM (Rapid Estimation of Adult Literacy in Medicine)
- Key elements ~ lots of white paper, simple illustrations, 1-2 syllable words
Translating into another language
- Include 2-3 native speakers to assist with the development
- Back translate in English
- Does it still make sense to everyone?
- Include cultural symbols & language
Taking into consideration literacy, age, gender & culture ensures that the message is meaningful