Communicating Health Information

M4 Selective

Directors: Peter J. Kragel, MD and Gregory Hassler PhD, JD Telephone: 744-2803 Fax: 744-3616 Mailing Address: Brody 7S10 Duration: 4 weeks , ½ time Students/Block: Min 4 and Max 10 Report To: Brody 7S10 Dates Offered: April

Goals: At the end of the elective, students will

Know eight ways to improve health communications with patients More effectively communicate health information to patients in order to enhance their understanding and compliance Understand what health literacy is and how problems with health literacy can lead to potential patient harm

Objectives: Upon completion of the elective, participants will be able to

Define health literacy Assess patients’ health literacy Assess readability of health information Evaluate the use of email as a communication tool Stimulate feedback from patients Help patients participate in their own healthcare Better communicate with patients who do not read well

Student Experience: Students attend lectures and participate in case discussions. They also participate in an exercise at the beginning of the elective in which they are evaluated on how well the communicate information to a “standardized patient.” They then repeat the exercise at the end of the elective, utilizing the skills they have learned.

Elective Outline :

I. Health Literacy a. Definition b. Assessment II. Readability of health information a. Readability Assessment b. Enhancing Readability III. Shared decision making a. Decision aids b. Health libraries c. Use of videos IV. Email V. Special groups a. Deaf or hard of hearing b. Other cultures c. Visually impaired VI. Helping patients participate in healthcare a. Remembering and following instructions b. The internet c. Educational programs VII. How to stimulate feedback from patients a. Interviews b. Focus groups VIII. Communication enhancements a. Videotapes and CDs b. Pictographs c. Plain language and word choice d. Use of Stories and narratives IX. Communication and the Medical-legal dimension a. Informed consent b. HIPAA X. The Eight Ways to Improve Health Communication


Osborne, Helen, Health Literacy from A to Z. Practical Ways to Communicate Your Health Message. Jones and Bartlett Publishers, Sudbury, Massachusetts, 2005

Evaluation of Student’s Performance: Student performance will be evaluated by participation and an oral presentation.

Contact: To schedule a rotation contact Gloria Jones at (252) 744-3855.