Whether you oversee a medical office, dental office, or other healthcare facility, it’s important to consider how you approach patient health literacy. Improving patient health literacy is critical for creating a safe and welcoming environment for your facility. When your patients have a better understanding of their medical conditions, it makes going in for visits and checkups less intimidating and results in return visits for your business. Keep reading to learn some helpful tips to improve patient health literacy in your medical facility.
Make Information Accessible
Patients should always have access to their lab results and reports based on their appointments and tests. However, these reports can be intimidating to patients who aren’t familiar with medical terminology. It’s helpful to provide resources that patients can reference to learn more about their conditions and symptoms. For example, providing diagrams and pamphlets on treatments and medications can help patients learn more even after they leave your facility. You can also point patients to reputable resources online or through your own website.
Use Basic Language
Another tip to improve patient health literacy is to be mindful about the way you and your employees deliver information. Avoid using overly complicated terminology, which can confuse or intimidate patients who aren’t familiar with it. Describe reports and treatment options with simple language that newer patients will understand. However, it’s also important to show them respect, so consider your language choices on a case-by-case basis. You don’t want to use overly simplistic terminology on more educated patients.
Leave Time for Questions
While healthcare facilities are fast-paced environments dedicated to serving as many patients as possible, it’s also important to slow down and give each patient the time they deserve. During appointments, allow time for patients to ask questions about their treatments, symptoms, and conditions to promote a more thorough understanding. Even when patients don’t have any questions, healthcare professionals should ask if they understand their reports or if they can help clarify anything. This extra step helps minimize the chances of confusion and promotes clear, comfortable communication.
These are some basic tips for improving patient health literacy that you can start implementing in your office right away. Being aware of how you present information and communicate throughout your healthcare facility can create a more comfortable and welcoming environment for all.