October is Health Literacy Month. People need and want to understand information. When it comes to their health, it’s even more important. That’s what health literacy is all about! How can we make health easy to understand for as many people as possible? It applies to when we speak, write, or even make graphics.
There are 2 types of health literacy:
- Personal Health Literacy – “how well a person can find, understand, and use information and services to make decisions about their own health and the health of others”
- Organizational Health Literacy – “how well organizations help all people find, understand, and use information and services to make choices about their own health and others”
There are many ways to make information more health literate. For example, use plain language in ways such as:
- Be short
- Use everyday words or phrases
- Use short words and sentences
- Use familiar analogies
Other tips include:
- Pause often
- Check for understanding
- Encourage questions
- Use a friendly tone of voice
- Prioritize information
- Break information into chunks
- Avoid acronyms or unfamiliar words
- Avoid all caps and italics
Did you know Four Corners checks information for health literacy before sharing it with the public? For example, before any press release is sent out, it is run through a special program. The program will then tell us how easy it is to read and what could be changed to make it better. We even have staff members who took a 7 month health literacy training to better communicate health information with the public.
Information was taken from the Institute for Healthcare Advancement’s Health Literacy Solutions Center. You can visit their site for more on this topic: https://www.healthliteracymonth.org/hlm/hlm-home
For questions or to learn more, call Four Corners at 402-362-2621 or 877-337-3573 or email us at email@example.com
Visit the Four Corners website at https://fourcorners.ne.gov. Follow us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and subscribe to our new YouTube channel @fc_healthdept!