Making Lab Test Results More Meaningful (HLOL #175)

Brian J. Zikmund-Fisher, Ph.D.is Associate Professor of Health Behavior and Health Education and Research Associate Professor of Internal Medicine at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. He also is Associate Director of University of Michigan’s Center for Bioethics and Social Sciences in Medicine. Trained in decision psychology and behavioral economics, Dr. Zikmund-Fisher designs and evaluates novel communication methods to make health data more intuitively meaningful, studies the effects of poor numeracy on the public’s use of health data, and explores the power of narratives in health communications. He developed and teaches graduate courses in health risk communication and designing memorable (“sticky”) health messages.

In this podcast, Brian J. Zikmund-Fisher talk with Helen Osborne about:

  • Why it is important that patients understand lab test results. And why this is so hard for many people to do.
  • How visual cues such as number lines, ranges of relevant values, colors, and harm anchors (with simple words) can help patients not only understand lab results but also figure out what, if any, actions to take.
  • Takeaways from this research that clinicians can use in everyday practice.

More Ways to Learn:

Health Literacy from A to Z: Practical Ways to Communicate Your Health Message, Second Edition (Updated 2018), by Helen Osborne. Relevant chapters include: 6, 8, 9, 12, 26, 37, 38

Read the transcript of this podcast.

Best Case/Worst Case: A Strategy to Manage Uncertainty in Shared Decision-Making (HLOL #164)

Gretchen Schwarze MD, MPP, is an Associate Professor in the Departments of Surgery and Medical History and Bioethics at the University of Wisconsin. Dr. Schwarze is a practicing vascular surgeon and health services researcher who also directs the clinical ethics curriculum for the UW School of Medicine and Public Health.  Her research interests are in patient-doctor decision making for high-risk operations and end-of-life care for surgical patients.

In this podcast, Dr. Schwarze talks with Helen Osborne about:

  • Best Case/Worst Case. A decision-making strategy that uses narrative, a graphic aid, and simplicity to communicate with families about complex treatment options.
  • Examples, stories, and research about using Best Case/Worst Case in practice.
  • Ways that patients and non-physicians can build on these lessons learned.

More ways to learn:

Health Literacy from A to Z: Practical Ways to Communicate Your Health Message, Second Edition (Updated 2018), by Helen Osborne. Relevant chapters include: 5, 8, 12, 13, 19, 26, 32, 38, 41

Read a transcript of this podcast.

After Visit Summaries (HLOL #152)

image001-2Alex Federman. MD, MPH, is an aging-focused health services researcher at Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. His research addresses chronic illness self-management in older adults and focuses on health literacy, cognition and health-related beliefs. Dr. Federman also provides primary care to adults in clinic and home-based settings in New York City.

In this podcast, Dr. Federman talks with Helen Osborne about:

  • After Visit Summaries (AVS), electronic health records, and other ways for patients and providers to exchange information.
  • Language, formatting, and other reasons AVS are not yet ideal patient summaries.
  • Ways providers and patients can use AVS to increase understanding and improve the delivery of care.

Health Literacy from A to Z: Practical Ways to Communicate Your Health Message, Second Edition (Updated 2018), by Helen Osborne. Relevant chapters include: 4, 6, 9, 16, 30

Read the transcript of this podcast.

Research About Using the Milliliter as a Standard Unit for Liquid Medication (HLOL #126)

Yin_Dreyer_IMG_4472Benard Dreyer, MD, is Professor of Pediatrics, Director of the Division of Developmental-Behavioral Pediatrics, Director of Pediatrics at Bellevue Hospital, and a pediatric hospitalist at NYU Langone Medical Center. He co-chaired the American Academy of Pediatrics “Project Advisory Committee on Health Literacy,” co-edited the book Plain Language Pediatrics, and serves on the Institute of Medicine’s Health Literacy Roundtable.

Shonna Yin, MD, MSc, is a general pediatrician and Assistant Professor of Pediatrics and Population Health at the NYU School of Medicine, Bellevue Hospital Center. She is an NIH-funded researcher focused on the development and evaluation of low literacy strategies to improve parent understanding of health information, including medication instructions.

In this podcast, Dr. Dreyer and Dr. Yin talk with Helen Osborne about:

  • Common dosing errors parents make with liquid medication
  • Research about using the milliliter as a standard dosing unit
  • Ways professionals and parents can help improve medication safety

More Ways to Learn:

Health Literacy from A to Z: Practical Ways to Communicate Your Health Message, Second Edition (Updated 2018), by Helen Osborne. Relevant chapters include: 17, 26, 32.

Read the written transcript.

Presenting Data in Ways that Work for Most People, Most of the Time (HLOL #113)

Pictures of Sally 2013Sally Bigwood lives in the United Kingdom and has worked in a number of fields including publishing, sales, government, and the UK’s National Health Service. These fields all need to communicate data in ways that everyday folks can understand. To help, Sally Bigwood along with her sister Melissa Spore, founded Plain Figures and co-authored the book, A Designers Guide to Presenting Numbers, Figures, and Charts.

In this podcast, Sally Bigwood talks with Helen Osborne about:

  • Presenting data as simply and clearly as possible.
  • Putting figures into a logical order.
  • Keeping comparisons close.
  • Rounding figures so they are easier to understand, compare, and recall.

More Ways to Learn:

  • Plain Figures. At http://www.plainfigures.com
  • Bigwood S, Spore M, The Designer’s Guide to Presenting Numbers, Figures, and Charts. The Allworth Press (2013).
  • Freeman JV, Walters SJ, Campbell MJ, How to Display Data. BMJ Books (2008).
  • “When Communicating Risk, Consider What Patients Need and Want to Know (HLOL #102).” Health Literacy Out Loud podcast interview with Dr. Brian Zikmund-Fisher. At http://www.healthliteracy.com/hlol-risk
  • “Clearly Communicating Scientific Information (HLOL #83).” Health Literacy Out Loud podcast interview with Dr. David Nelson. Athttp://healthliteracy.com/hlol-scientific-information

Health Literacy from A to Z: Practical Ways to Communicate Your Health Message, Second Edition (Updated 2018), by Helen Osborne. Relevant chapters include: 12, 26, 38.

Read a transcript of this podcast.

CDC’s “Clear Communication Index” (HLOL #108)

Baur photo April 2013Cynthia Baur, PhD, works at the U. S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and leads CDC’s health literacy and plain language initiatives. Among her many accomplishments, Dr. Baur is lead editor of the National Action Plan to Improve Health Literacy and with Dr. Christine Prue, also of the CDC, co-developed CDC’s Clear Communication Index.

In this podcast, Cynthia Baur talks with Helen Osborne about:

  • What CDC’s Clear Communication Index is, why it’s needed, and how it compares to other communication assessment tools.
  • How to use the Index when revisiting, revising, or creating a wide range of public communication products. These include print materials, web postings, audio scripts, and social media messages.

More Ways to Learn:

Health Literacy from A to Z: Practical Ways to Communicate Your Health Message, Second Edition (Updated 2018), by Helen Osborne. Relevant chapters include: 1, 2, 3, 6, 16, 26, 30.

To read a transcript of this podcast, go to http://healthliteracy.com/transcript.asp?PageID=11786

 

 

 

When Communicating Risk, Consider What Patients Need and Want to Know (HLOL #102)

BZF Donaghue headshotBrian J. Zikmund-Fisher, PhD is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Health Behavior and Health Education at University of Michigan’s School of Public Health. He also is a Research Assistant Professor in their Internal Medicine Department and affiliated with several other University of Michigan’s programs. With a background in decision psychology and behavioral economics, Dr. Zikmund-Fisher teaches, researches, and writes about meaningful ways to communicate risk and other number-based health messages.

In this podcast, Dr. Zikmund-Fisher talks with Helen Osborne about:

  • How all risk communications are not the same.
  • The responsibility of the communicator to consider the spectrum of patient’s needs before deciding what to provide.
  • How to align the format of risk information to its purpose. In other words, how to know when we want numbers and when we might not.
  • The pros and cons of different formats for discussing risk including icon arrays and other visual ways of showing probabilities, labels that group numbers into categories, and narratives that recount lived experience but ignore probability.
  • Thoughts about the history and future of risk communication.

More Ways to Learn:

  • Zikmund-Fisher BJ, “The Right Tool is What They Need, Not What We Have: A Taxonomy of Appropriate Levels of Precision in Patient Risk Communication,” Medical Care Research and Review. Published online September 6, 2012. Full text available at http://hdl.handle.net/2027.42/98434
  • Icon Array, a free online tool to communicate your risk information in a matrix, http://www.iconarray.com

Health Literacy from A to Z: Practical Ways to Communicate Your Health Message, Second Edition (Updated 2018), by Helen Osborne. Relevant chapters include: 8, 9, 11, 13, 26, 38.

Read a transcript of this podcast.

Numeracy, Chronic Disease, and Repeat Emergency Room Visits or Hospitalizations (HLOL #92)

PastedGraphic-1Candace McNaugton MD, MPH, is an emergency medicine physician at Vanderbilt University Medical Center and a fellow in the Vanderbilt Emergency Medicine Research Training Program. Dr. McNaughton also completed a VA Quality Scholar Fellowship, focusing on issues of quality and patient safety. Her research looks at patients with heart failure, hypertension and other chronic diseases who seek care in the emergency department.

In this podcast, Dr. McNaughton talks with Helen Osborne about:

  • Numeracy and chronic disease. Number-based tasks that patients must do to care for themselves at home.
  • Return ER visits and hospitalizations. Patients with low numeracy skills appear to be at more risk for acute exacerbation of heart failure symptoms.
  • What can all of us do to help? Recommendations for clinicians, patients, and healthcare systems.

More Ways to Learn:

Health Literacy from A to Z: Practical Ways to Communicate Your Health Message, Second Edition (Updated 2018), by Helen Osborne. Relevant chapters include: 4, 5, 7, 26.

Read a transcript of this podcast.

Clearly Communicating Scientific Information (HLOL #83)

David Nelson MD, MPH is Director of the Cancer Prevention Fellowship Program at the National Cancer Institute. Prior to this position, Dr. Nelson worked as an epidemiologist and health communication scientist at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). He is the author, co-author, or lead author of numerous books and over 100 peer-reviewed scientific articles.

In this podcast, Dr. Nelson talks with Helen Osborne about:

  • Why it can be hard to communicate scientific information to lay audiences.
  • Ways to communicate clearly–beginning with an understanding of your audience, their beliefs, and communication goals.
  • How to tell a scientific story using data, metaphor, visuals, and examples.
  • What to consider when weighing the “ethics of simplicity.”

More ways to learn:

  • Nelson DE, Hesse BW, Croyle RT (2009). Making Data Talk: Communicating Public Health Data to the Public, Policy Makers, and the Press. Oxford University Press.
  • National Cancer Institute, US Department of Health and Human Services (2011). Making Data Talk: A Workbook. At http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/cancerlibrary/MDT-Workbook.pdf
  • Parvanta C, Nelson DE, Parvanta SA, Harner RN (2010). Essentials of Public Health Communication. Jones and Bartlett Learning.
  • Remington PL, Nelson DE, Parvanta C (2002). Communicating Public Health Information Effectively: A Guide for Practitioners. American Public Health Association.
  • Osborne H (2004). “In Other Words…The Ethics of Simplicity,” On Call magazine. Available at www.healthliteracy.com/ethics-of-simplicity
  • Rosling, Hans (2010). “The Joy of Stats,” Wingspan Productions for BBC. At http://www.gapminder.org/videos/the-joy-of-stats/

Health Literacy from A to Z: Practical Ways to Communicate Your Health Message, Second Edition (Updated 2018), by Helen Osborne. Relevant chapters include: 9, 11, 26, 28, 30.

Read a transcript of this podcast.

 

Helping Others Understand Health Messages (HLOL #56)

Lisa M. Schwartz, MD, M.S., and Steven Woloshin, MD, MS, are general internists at the White River Junction Veterans Administration Medical Center in Vermont. They also are professors of medicine, and community and family medicine, at Dartmouth Medical School in New Hampshire.

Together, they are working to address two important barriers to health communication: 1) many patients and providers are limited in their ability to interpret medical data, and 2) health messages are often exaggerated or incomplete. Dr. Schwartz and Dr. Woloshin have written extensively on this topic and are co-authors of several books including Know Your Chances: Understanding Health Statistics and Overdiagnosed.

In this podcast, they talk with Helen Osborne about:

  • Health statistics, health messages, and health claims. Helping people make sense of what they hear on the news, see on TV, and read in the ads.
  • Three questions to help others better understand health messages.
  • Ways to communicate complicated health messages more simply and clearly.

More Ways to Learn:

  • Woloshin S, Schwartz LM, Welch HG, Know Your Chances: Understanding Health Statistics. University of California Press, 2008. (The book can be downloaded for free from http://www.jameslindlibrary.org/testing-treatments.html
  • Welch HG, Schwartz LM, Woloshin, Overdiagnosed. Beacon Press, 2011.
  • S Woloshin, LM Schwartz, BS Kramer. “Promoting health skepticism in the news: Helping journalists get it right,” J Natl Cancer Institute 101(23): 1596–1599.
  • “Healthy Skepticism,” White River Junction Outcomes Group. Available at http://www.vaoutcomes.org/washpost.php
  • Osborne H, “In Other Words…Working With Numbers,” On Call magazine, June/July 2004. Available at http://healthliteracy.com/article.asp?PageID=3745

Health Literacy from A to Z: Practical Ways to Communicate Your Health Message, Second Edition (Updated 2018), by Helen Osborne. Relevant chapters include: 8, 13, 26.

Health Numeracy: Helping Patients Understand Numeric Concepts (HLOL #38)

Andrea J. Apter, MD, MA, MSc is a practicing physician and Professor of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. Her specialty is treating patients diagnosed with asthma. Before she was a doctor, Apter was a math teacher who worked with students from 6th grade on.

Both as a doctor and as a teacher, Apter knows the challenges of communicating numeric concepts in health education. To help, she along with collaborators, have proposed a model to make this task easier for all.

In this podcast, Dr. Apter talks with Helen Osborne about:

  • Why numeracy matters in healthcare and preventive medicine.
  • Strategies to improve understanding that givers and receivers of health information can use today.
  • Thoughts about long-term solutions & need for health numeracy research.

More ways to learn:

  • Apter AJ et al (2008), “Numeracy and Communication with Patients: They Are Counting on Us,” Journal of General Internal Medicine 23(12):2117-24.
  • Apter AJ et al (2009), “Linking numeracy and asthma-related quality of life,” Patient Education and Counseling 75: 386-391.
  • Apter AJ et al (2006), “Asthma Numeracy Skill and Health Literacy,” Journal of Asthma, 43:705-710.
  • Golbeck AL, Ahlers-Schmidt CR, Paschal AM, and Dismuke SE (2005), “A Definition and Operational Framework for Health Numeracy,” American Journal of Preventative Medicine 29(4):375-376.
  • Osborne H, (2007) “In Other Words…Health Numeracy: How Do Patients Handle the Concept of Quantity When It Relates to Their Health?” On Call Magazine, http://www.healthliteracy.com/article.asp?PageID=6509
  • Osborne H, (2004) “In Other Words…Working With Numbers,” On Call Magazinehttp://www.healthliteracy.com/article.asp?PageID=3745
  • Osborne H, (2004) Health Literacy from A to Z: Practical Ways to Communicate Your Health Message. Sudbury, MA: Jones & Bartlett. http://www.jblearning.com/catalog/0763745502

Health Literacy from A to Z: Practical Ways to Communicate Your Health Message, Second Edition (Updated 2018), by Helen Osborne. Relevant chapters include: 6, 21, 26.

Read a transcript of this podcast. 

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