This blog shares some of our thoughts about plain language, and the latest discussions about plain English and clear design in New Zealand, and around the world.

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14 October 2011

Health literacy - new definition, new skills

October is Health Literacy Month.

So what is health literacy? The ground is already shifting in this relatively new discipline.

About 5 years ago the American Medical Association Foundation defined health literacy as:

‘the ability to read, understand and act on medical information’. The focus was on the patient and their skills.

A newer definition:

‘health literacy is the communication component of healthcare’.

The focus is shifting to the health provider.

Clinicians need to check consumer and patient understanding. ‘Have I presented the information in a way that’s easy to understand and act on?’

Rosie Knight is a plain English specialist at Write. Health literacy is one of her great interests. She has inspired a new workshop, the Health Information Lab. It offers strategies and techniques for communicating clearly about health, and checking that the consumer really knows what they need to.

Go to our website for links to more blogs about health literacy

Read about our workshop Writing Health Information Clearly

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