Although definitions of health literacy emphasize individual abilities, health literacy is really about the interaction between individuals and the health care environment. Thus, health care professionals have a responsibility to communicate information in a way that is more readily understood by the average consumer. This is clear health communication.
Clear health communication involves several techniques, such as
- avoiding medical jargon
- focusing on just a few key pieces of information
- engaging patients effectively in the discussion
- confirming their comprehension
Unfortunately, clear health communication is not the norm in most medical discussions, though it should be.