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.

Health Literacy & Consumer Health Librarians (HLOL #161)

Amy Six-Means, MLIS, is on the librarian team at Children’s Health in Dallas, Texas. She worked at two other consumer health libraries prior to that. Six-Means started as an elementary school teacher, later going back to school for a degree in library science. Along the way, she discovered the connection between medical librarianship and health literacy and has been a passionate advocate ever since.

In this podcast, Amy Six-Means talks with Helen Osborne about:

  • What consumer health librarians do, where they work, and how they help patients, caregivers, and the public better understand about illness, treatment, and health.
  • How consumer health librarians can make a difference whether working in hospitals, communities, or healthcare systems.
  • Collaborating with consumer health librarians for better health literacy.

More Ways to Learn:

Examples of collaborative partnerships with medical/consumer health librarians and community members, public health initiatives, or health care organizations to further health literacy and support patients, loved ones, and the community.

Health Literacy from A to Z: Practical Ways to Communicate Your Health Message, Second Edition (Updated 2018), by Helen Osborne. Relevant chapters include: 1, 13, 27, 29, 32

Read the transcript of this podcast.

Lawyers Can Help with Health Literacy, Too (HLOL #148)

Trudeau-faculty picture-touched upChristopher Trudeau is a Professor at Western Michigan University, Thomas M. Cooley Law School. He is one of the leading advocates on health literacy and the law and widely recognized as an expert on informed consent. Trudeau often speaks to audiences of health professionals, or lawyers, or both about creating processes to not only engage patients but also protect healthcare organizations.

In this podcast, Christopher Trudeau talks with Helen Osborne about:

  • Why lawyers are starting to be more aware of, and engaged with, health literacy
  • How lawyers can use plain language to protect their clients while also helping patients understand medical-legal information
  • Ways that public health professionals, clinicians, and others can start working with lawyers to make health messages clear

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: 1, 4, 12, 27, 28, 30.

Read the written transcript.

Research to Practice: How Much Patient Teaching is Enough? (HLOL #144)

Mike Pignone headshotMichael Pignone, MD, MPH, is professor of medicine at the University of North Carolina Department of Medicine and chief of the university’s Division of General Internal Medicine. In addition to his numerous clinical and teaching responsibilities, Dr. Pignone researches chronic disease prevention and treatment, physician-patient communication, and decision-making in primary care settings. Health literacy is a thread woven throughout all his work.

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

  • Recognizing the challenge of treating patients who have chronic illnesses, complex medical regimens, and a range of interests and abilities.
  • Teaching in ways patients can learn. This starts with knowing each patient and continues with a team over time.
  • Valuing the intersection of research and practice to help patients reach their goals.

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, 6, 11, 27.

Read the written transcript of this podcast

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.

Making Research Consent Forms Easier for Patients to Understand (HLOL #86)

Kristofer (Kris) Griffith is Manager of Human Research Regulations at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center. Among his many responsibilities, Griffith manages regulatory aspects of human subjects research as submitted through their Office of Protocol Research, edits the Human Subjects Research Bulletin and, along with an editorial staff, maintains MD Anderson’s Adverse Events Database.

In this podcast, Kris Griffith talks with Helen Osborne about:

  • Why research consent forms are so very difficult to write. And understand.
  • Strategies to help, including: listing side effects, using consistent and clear wording, formatting pages, and writing short summaries.
  • Useful tools, resources, and ways to learn more.

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: 8, 12, 27, 30.

Read the transcript for this podcast.

Problematic Words in Health Research (HLOL #69)

Jessica Ridpath founded a research-centric plain language initiative called Program for Readability In Science & Medicine (PRISM) at Group Health Research Institute in Seattle, WA. In this initiative, Ridpath provides plain language editing, training, and consultation for health researchers, health education writers, hospital staff, and public health employees. Her focus is often on writing clear and understandable informed consent forms for research.

In this podcast, Ridpath talks with Helen Osborne about:

  • Informed consent forms for research. Why these forms can be difficult to read and ways to make them easier for the lay public to understand.
  • Problematic words. Examples of words and terms that may cause confusion even though these words are short and familiar.
  • Strategies and tools to improve understanding of health research concepts.

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, 12, 16, 27, 28, 30.

Read a transcript of this podcast. 

Decision Support for Patients Making Life-Changing Choices (HLOL #49)

Jeff Belkora PhD is a faculty member at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF). There he runs the Medical Center’s Decision Services program, helping patients weigh the risks and benefits of their treatment options. Belkora also consults with outside organizations about decision support for patients making life-changing choices. In all this work, Belkora’s focus is on leadership, teamwork, and decision-making.

In this podcast, he talks with Helen Osborne about:

  • How decision support helps patients reflect critically on life-changing choices.
  • Strategies and systems to help patients understand decisions and communicate effectively.
  • Lessons learned that listeners can use in day-to-day 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: 8

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