National Center for Farmworker Health

Improving Health Literacy for Better Patient Outcomes

Program Overview

The ability to read and understand health information and apply it effectively is a growing public health concern. The United Sates is comprised of varying cultures and this is reflected in our patient/client populations. Health information can often be complex and scientific, which can ultimately cause people to have difficulty in complying with therapeutic treatment for any given health issue. The Health Literacy Training is a program that is specifically geared to target and overcome issues surrounding health literacy and cultural awareness.

In this highly participatory and interactive training, participants will engage in activities that demonstrate the difficulties that can be encountered when navigating medical instruction, ranging from prescriptions to procedures. Health care providers will develop the skills to apply verbal and written communication methods with their clients/patients in order to convey important health messages. Participants will also be directed to incorporate culturally appropriate messages in their communication with patient populations.

Program Objectives

This training will serve to:

  • Explain and identify key health literacy issues in the U.S.
  • Identify key risk factors for limited literacy.
  • Connect the implications of low literacy to disease management.
  • Identify behaviors and factors that may indicate limited literacy.
  • Provide written and verbal communication solutions to bridge barriers in the healthcare setting.

Program Highlights

The Problem: Low Health Literacy

In this section, participants receive information regarding health literacy in the United States. A combination of discussion and activities is used to illustrate the impact on individual health and to identify key risk factors for limited health literacy. Participants will also have the opportunity to fully explore specific patient behaviors and responses that may indicate limited literacy.

Strategies for Clear Health Communication

Communication is an important element in any situation, but it is imperative when communicating health information. In this component of the training, participants will identify various methods for effectively communicating health information both verbally and in written forms. Clear health messages and suggestions for modifying medical jargon and patient material are offered to participants for practical use within the healthcare setting. Through the use of realistic examples and simple steps, participants are able to identify and apply behaviors that improve patient provider communication.

Turning Solutions into Action

The program concludes with tangible solutions and guidelines for implementing effective health communication with populations affected by limited literacy. Resources are also provided to explore additional solutions.