Skip to Main Content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.

Health Literacy: Practical Approaches

Overview and practical approaches for healthcare providers

Creating a Shame Free Environment

  •  Adopt attitude of helpfulness by every person there
  •  Offer help in privacy of exam room
  •  Be alert to clues as incomplete forms, social history information, insights from reviewing their medications with them
  • Avoid bias - be sensitive to different culture/ethnicities, socioeconomic statuses, physical appearances, etc
  • Improve communication skills
  • Speak slowly with little or no jargon
  • Use open ended questions
  • Read nonverbal clues
  • Convey most important concepts  (2 or 3)
  • Involve family members
  • Use teach back method, have them restate what  was  told

From Health Literacy: Hidden Barriers and Practical Strategies (AHRQ)
Eight Ways to Improve Patient Communications (Physicians Practice)