Efforts to Improve the Readability of Medication Labels (HLOL #167)

Joanne Schwartzberg MD is Scholar-in-Residence for the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME). Her career is filled with important accomplishments including many years of teaching, writing, researching, and creating healthcare policy. In my opinion, it’s also thanks in large part to Dr. Schwartzberg’s leadership at the American Medical Association (AMA) that the field of health literacy has flourished and grown.

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

  • Why people of all reading abilities have trouble following instructions on medication labels.
  • Ways that designers, pharmacists, scientific organizations, and others are working to improve the readability and usefulness of medication labels.
  • How podcast listeners can be part of this effort to make medication labels better.

More ways to learn:

Read the transcript of this podcast.

What To Do When Teaching About the Flu (HLOL #142)

Sparks photoSteve Sparks is the director of Wisconsin Health Literacy, a division of Wisconsin Literacy, Inc. There, he provides consultation, training, and coordination for statewide health literacy programs, communications, and interventions. Before Wisconsin Health Literacy, Steve held marketing and communications positions in hospitals, health systems, and taught college-level communication courses.

In this podcast, Steve Sparks talks with Helen Osborne about:

  • Why it’s important, yet also difficult, to teach about the flu.
  • Strategies that work including collaborating with organizations trusted by the intended audience, meeting at places people already go, creating an informal tone, being interactive, using health literacy principles throughout.
  • How health literacy approaches enhance success in populations harder to reach.
  • Getting funding, measuring success, and other behind-the-scene necessities.

More Ways to Learn:

Read the transcript for this podcast.

Literacy & Health Literacy (HLOL #141)

Michele Erikson photoMichele Erikson has been involved with adult literacy for many years. She started as a volunteer literacy tutor and now serves as Executive Director of Wisconsin Literacy, Inc. One of Michele’s many accomplishments is overseeing Wisconsin Literacy’s Health Literacy division that not only hosts national health literacy summits but also works closely with adult learners and healthcare professionals to ensure that health information is communicated in ways everyone can understand.

In this podcast, Michele Erikson talks with Helen Osborne about:

  • Literacy, an acquired skill that goes beyond decoding written words.
  • Is reading a problem? Why, who, and what to do to improve understanding.
  • How literacy and health literacy overlap, intersect, and differ from the other.

More Ways to Learn:

  • Wisconsin Literacy, Inc. Includes information about Wisconsin Health Literacy. At http://wisconsinliteracy.org/health-literacy/
  • Contact Wisconsin Health Literacy’s director, Steve Sparks at steve@wisconsinliteracy.org or call 608-257-1655
  • Hotdogs and Hamburgers: Unlocking Life’s Potential through Literacy at Any Age, by Rob Shindler. This book includes an insider’s view on tutoring adults.

More Ways to Make a Difference:

  • Volunteer to be a tutor. Change someone’s life through literacy.
  • Advocate to legislators, business leaders and community officials.
  • Ask if your doctor’s clinic participates in Reach Out and Read.
  • Donate or become a member of your local literacy agency.
  • Ask your local service club (Rotary, Kiwanis, Altrusa, Lions, Etc.) to get involved.
  • Use plain language in all your health care communications.

Read the written podcast transcript.

Health Literacy and The Joint Commission (HLOL #139)

Cordero 3-13Christina (Tina) Cordero, PhD, MPH, is a Project Director in the Department of Standards and Survey Methods, Division of Healthcare Quality Evaluation at The Joint Commission. Among her many accomplishments, Tina developed the patient-centered communication standards and The Joint Commission monograph Advancing Effective Communication, Cultural Competence, and Patient- and Family-Centered Care: A Roadmap for Hospitals.

In this podcast, Tina Cordero talks with Helen Osborne about:

  • Why, how, and when The Joint Commission got interested in health literacy.
  • What The Joint Commission requires and recommends in regard to patient communication interaction.
  • The Joint Commission’s Roadmap as a resource and framework for practice.

More Ways to Learn:

Read the podcast transcript.

Communicating About Health with LGBTQ Youth (HLOL #136)

VettersRalph Vetters MD, MPH, is the site medical director of the Sidney Borum, Jr. Health Center, a program of Fenway Health in Boston, MA. He is a graduate of Harvard Medical School and trained as a pediatrician at Boston Children’s Hospital and the Boston Medical Center. The Sidney Borum, Jr. Health Center focuses on caring for youth who are alienated from the traditional health care system – LGBTQ youth, street youth and homeless youth.

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

  • What this term means, who it includes, and how it covers a wide range of issues and identities.
  • Strategies to communicate health information in ways that are respectful, helpful, and inclusive. This includes pronouns, words, non-words, health history forms, and electronic medical records.
  • How health literacy and communicating with LGBTQ youth share many characteristics, goals, and strategies.

More ways to learn:

Read the written transcript.

Translating Health Information (HLOL #134)

photoLise Anne Boissonneault, B.Sc.L., M. Ed., is a translator and language instructor who has worked in health care for over 25 years in Northern Ontario, Canada. She has translated countless health-related documents from English to French for the general public and managed a busy translation service. Lise Anne has also taught French to health care professionals and undergraduate students.

In this podcast, Helen Osborne talks with Lise Anne Boissonneault about:

  • Role of translations in healthcare and how they differ from interpretation.
  • Important translation considerations including culture, context, and geography.
  • What to do, and not do, to validate that your translated message is correct.

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

To read a transcript of this podcast, go to http://healthliteracy.com/transcript.asp?PageID=11877

Comics and Medicine: That’s Health Literacy, Too. (HLOL #110)

MKMK Czerwiec is a nurse who makes comics. MK has a Masters degree in medical humanities from Northwestern University, where she developed and teaches a seminar to medical students called “Drawing Medicine.” With Ian Williams, a doctor in the UK who also makes comics, MK co-runs GraphicMedicine.org, a website that looks at the intersection between comics and the discourse of medicine.

In this podcast, MK Czerwiec talks with Helen Osborne about:

  • How comics use sequential art to tell about health, illness, and medicine.
  • Why comics are effective and how they transcend differences in culture, language, and educational level.
  • What listeners can do to find, create, use, and learn more about comics in medicine.

Ways to Learn More:

To read a transcript of this podcast, go to http://healthliteracy.com/transcript.asp?PageID=11843

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:

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

 

 

 

Health Literacy and Pediatrics (HLOL #107)

Cronan_ Kate DSC6430Kate Cronan MD is a Pediatric Emergency Medicine physician, Associate Professor of Pediatrics at Jefferson Medical College, Director of Health Content Integration for the Nemours Children’s Health Media Center, and Senior Editor for KidsHealth.org. She is also an active and enthusiastic health literacy champion who co-chairs the Language Proficiency and Health Literacy Committee at Nemours/Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children in Wilmington, Delaware.

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

  • Health literacy issues to consider when communicating with children, along with their parents or caregivers.
  • Strategies to help set a positive tone, put children at ease, and communicate medical information in ways they can understand.
  • Choosing words, using pictures, and otherwise being clear when teaching children about health and illness.

More Ways to Learn:

  • KidsHealth from Nemours. Communicating complex medical information in ways that parents, kids, and teens can understand. At http://kidshealth.org
  • Abrams MA, Dreyer BP, (2009) Plain Language Pediatrics: Health Literacy Strategies and Communication Resources for Common Pediatric Topics. Available as an eBook from AAP, at http://ebooks.aap.org/product/plain-language-pediatrics

To read a written transcript, go to http://healthliteracy.com/transcript.asp?PageID=11763

Communicating Results of Mammograms and Other Screening Tests (HLOL #97)

Erin Marcus, M.D. Internal MedicineErin N. Marcus, MD, MPH, is a general internist at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine. In 2009, she was one of three physicians nationally to receive an American Cancer Society Cancer Control Career Development Award for Primary Care Physicians. Her research focused on the communication of mammogram results. Before medical school, Dr. Marcus worked as a newspaper reporter. Even now as a practicing physician, she sometimes writes about health for The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Miami Herald, and The Huffington Post.

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

  • Challenges when communicating test results by mail or online.
  • Strategies to make this information more understandable.
  • Ways to help patients be more activated when learning about health.

More Ways to Learn:

Read a transcript of this podcast.

 

How Visual Cues Help Readers Read (HLOL #95)

JosiahFiskAugust2012Josiah Fisk is founder and president of More Carrot, a firm that combines plain language with information design to create simplified, user-centric documents. While Fisk often works on consumer financial products, he also has experience with healthcare providers, software companies, and the IRS. More Carrot is a global company with offices in Boston and Luxembourg.

In this podcast, Josiah Fisk talks with Helen Osborne about:

  • How information design improves readability and navigation.
  • Ways that visual cues make it easier for readers to complete forms and other business or informational documents.
  • Suggestions about using photos, spacing, sub-headings, and other design elements in healthcare documents.

More Ways to Learn:

To read a transcript of this podcast, click here: http://healthliteracy.com/transcript.asp?PageID=11603

Talking About Jargon (HLOL #94)

Dean's photoDean Schillinger MD is Professor of Medicine in Residence at the University of California San Francisco and Chief of the UCSF Division of General Internal Medicine at San Francisco General Hospital. Among his many responsibilities, Dr. Schillinger treats patients, teaches in the primary care residency program, and conducts research about healthcare for vulnerable populations. Dr. Schillinger is a well-published researcher, winner of many awards, and widely recognized as an expert in health literacy, health communication, and chronic disease prevention and management.

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

  • What jargon is and why it is often a problem in health communication.
  • A study showing that patients often do not understand jargon, even when jargon is clarified.
  • Recommendations about ways to more clearly communicate about health, along with a suggestion for more research.

More Ways to Learn:

  • Castro CM, Wilson D, Wang F, Schillinger D, “Babel Babble: Physicians’ Use of Unclarified Medical Jargon with Patients.” Am J Health Behavior, 2007;31(suppl 1):S85-S95.
  • Osborne H, “In Other Words…Abbreviations, Acronyms, and Other Healthcare Shorthand.” On Call magazine, April 10, 2008. Available at http://healthliteracy.com/abbreviations-acronyms

To read a transcript of this podcast, click here: http://healthliteracy.com/transcript.asp?PageID=11588

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:

To read a transcript of this podcast, click here: http://healthliteracy.com/transcript.asp?PageID=11545

Dr. Rima Rudd Talks About the Health Literacy Burden in Healthcare (HLOL #15)

Dr. Rima Rudd is Senior Lecturer on Society, Human Development, and Health at the Harvard School of Public Health. Her work centers on health communication and the design and evaluation of public health programs. She teaches courses on innovative strategies in health education, program planning and evaluation, and health literacy.

Dr. Rudd is widely recognized as a leader in health literacy – helping to shape both the research and practice agenda in the US, Canada, and Europe. Dr. Rudd works closely with the adult education, public health, oral health, and medical sectors. Her current research looks at literacy-related disparities and literacy-related barriers to health programs, services, and care. Her Harvard website on health literacy serves scholars and practitioners.

In this podcast, she talks with Helen Osborne about the health literacy burden in healthcare. Topics include:

  • Literacy-related disparities and barriers as they relate to healthcare
  • Deconstructing healthcare language, instructions, and activities
  • Literacy demands in chronic disease management, prevention, and navigation
  • Why it’s time to reconsider the definition of health literacy

More Ways to Learn:

  • Harvard School of Public Health, Health Literacy Studies. www.hsph.harvard.edu/healthliteracy
  • Communicating Health: Priorities and Strategies for Progress (2003), US Department of Health and Human Services & Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion.  Dr. Rudd wrote the chapter about health literacy. Available at http://odphp.osophs.dhhs.gov/projects/healthcomm/
  • Literacy and Health in America (2004), Educational Testing Services. Dr. Rudd is one of the authors. Available at http://www.ets.org/Media/Research/pdf/PICHEATH.pdf
  • National Center for the Study of Adult Literacy and Learning (NCSALL), http://www.ncsall.net
  • Nielsen-Bohlman L, Panzer AM, Kindig DA, (ed), 2004. Health Literacy: A Prescription to End Confusion. The National Academies Press: Washington DC. Dr. Rudd was a member of the Institute of Medicine committee as well as writer/contributor to the book. Available at http://books.nap.edu

To read a written transcript, click http://healthliteracy.com/transcript.asp?PageID=11705

Len & Ceci Doak Discuss Health Literacy’s Past, Present and Future (HLOL #13)

Cecelia (Ceci) and Leonard (Len) Doak are a husband and wife team who, for over 30 years, helped lead the way to health literacy. Their book, workshops, and articles have inspired advocates everywhere to improve health understanding.

Ceci started as a commissioned officer in the US Public Health Service. During her more 20 years there, Ceci developed and led numerous health education programs. In fact, she received a commendation from the Surgeon General for her work educating the public about cancer.

Len comes to health literacy via adult education, volunteering for many years as a tutor of non-readers. Len’s first career was as a Navy engineer and among his many accomplishments he helped simplify instructions for crews working on ships and submarines.

Len & Ceci co-authored the award-winning book, Teaching Patients with Low Literacy Skills. In their non-profit business Patient Learning Associates, Inc., Len and Ceci have written guidelines for many important projects and analyzed the suitability of over 2,000 healthcare materials in virtually all formats. They have presented at more than 200 health literacy workshops, training thousands of health professionals in all disciplines.

In this Health Literacy Out Loud podcast, they talk with Helen Osborne about the past, present, and future of health literacy. Topics include:

  • How health literacy began more than 30 years ago
  • Why health literacy was important then and is even more so today
  • Strategies to improve communication and assess if messages are understood
  • Ceci & Len Doak’s vision for health literacy in the future

More ways to learn:

  • Doak, Doak, & Root, Teaching Patients with Low Literacy Skills, Second Edition. 1996. Available for free at Harvard University School of Public Health’s Health Literacy Studies website, http://www.hsph.harvard.edu/healthliteracy/resources/doak-book/
  • Houts, Doak, Doak, Lascalzo. “The role of pictures in improving health communication:  A review of research on the benefits of pictures on attention, comprehension, recall, and adherence.”  Patient Education and Counseling, 61 (2006) 173-190, 2005 Elsevier Ireland Ltd.
  • Osborne, H. “In Other Words…Can They Understand? Testing Patient Education Materials With Intended Readers,” On Call Magazine, Nov 2001. Available at http://www.healthliteracy.com/article.asp?PageID=3811

Click here for a transcript of this episode: http://healthliteracy.com/transcript.asp?PageID=1169 [Read more…]