Friday, February 10, 2006

Health Literacy Fact Sheets

Written by Linda Potter and Constance Martin and published in August 2005.

"This series of nine fact sheets was created for those who are designing patient education materials for consumers with low health literacy skills."

Fact Sheet 1: What is Health Literacy?
Fact Sheet 2: Who has Health Literacy Problems?
Fact Sheet 3: Impact of Low Literacy Skills on Annual Health Care Expenditures
Fact Sheet 4: Health Literacy and Understanding Medical Information
Fact Sheet 5: Strategies to Assist Low-literate Health Care Consumers
Fact Sheet 6: Preparing Patient Education Materials
Fact Sheet 7: Tools to Evaluate Patient Education Materials
Fact Sheet 8: Health Communication and Cultural Diversity
Fact Sheet 9: Resources for Health Literacy Information and Publications

Download the fact sheets in PDF format at:

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Multi-format health information

Healthy Roads Media offers "free audio, written and multimedia health education materials in a number of languages. They are being developed to study the value of these formats in providing health information for diverse populations."

So far, information is available on the following topics (some have several sub-topics):
* Abuse
* Asthma
* Cancer
* Dental
* Diabetes
* Diseases and Conditions
* Exercise
* Health Services
* Heart
* Immunization
* Nutrition
* Smoking
* Tuberculosis
* Women's Health

Languages include: English, Spanish, Vietnamese, Arabic, Somali, Bosnian, Russian, Hmong and Khmer.

Particularly interesting are the online video clips which are specially formatted to make them accessible with low-speed Internet connections.

Visit Health Roads Media at

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Helen Osborne's Tips: The Power of Pictures

Tips for February 2006
by Helen Osborne

Reprinted with permission.

Patients and their family members need to consistently and completely understand health information. They need this in order to understand how to access care, follow directions, recognize emergencies, and comply with other health tasks.

But many people have trouble understanding health information. One reason can be due to readers' limited literacy or learning skills. Another reason may be that the information itself is very difficult. Almost always, problems in understanding arise when there are mismatches between ways patients learn and how information is presented.

Pictures and other visual aids can help patients "get the picture" of what health professionals are talking or writing about.

... read tips for using visual aids and learn about Helen's workshop "How to Draw and Use Pictographs" at her website: