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5 Steps to Health Literate Patients

Did you know that most adults have poor health literacy?

Having low health literacy means your patients don’t have the knowledge they need to find, understand and use information about their health and healthcare. As a result, more than 50% of patients leave their doctor appointments not knowing what they are supposed to do to manage their health, and are unable to make informed and appropriate healthcare decisions.


Only 10% of adults have the skills needed to use health information that is routinely available in healthcare facilities, retail outlets and the media. So what about the other 90%?

The good news is, there are some easy steps you can incorporate into your practice to improve your patients’ health literacy, facilitate better understanding of health information, and get patients on the road to a healthier future!

#1: Know your patients

Just like you would when giving a presentation or writing a paper – strive to know your audience and speak their language.

Speak slowly and use plain language. Avoid medical terms and scientific jargon. And never assume understanding.

#2: Tailor information

Consider how you present information to your patients. What works for some people might be confusing for others. Try different approaches to suit patient needs.*

*iMD Health can help! Try our visual-learning based platform today!

#3: Use the Teach-back approach

Aim to incorporate the teach-back method in your daily practice as a way to make sure you have explained information to a patient clearly.

Ask patients to explain back to you – in their own words – what you have discussed with them and what they need to know or do next.

Easily identify areas of confusion or misunderstanding; re-explain, and check again!

#4: Ensure understanding

Encourage your patients to ask questions. Invite your patient’s family or support network to sit in on a consultation and ask questions as well.

Ask patients if you have addressed all of their concerns, or if something has been overlooked.

#5: Improve your health service

Offer your patients additional health resources, for example by providing links to quality healthcare information on your website.

Incorporate education and training tools into your practice to help your patients easier understand and absorb information about their health!*

*Click below to try our free patient education platform!

Improving your patients’ health literacy doesn’t have to be difficult, for you or the patient. Which of these steps could use some improvement in your practice?

At iMD Health, improving patient health literacy is our top priority, so we’ve created a platform that can help you deliver on each of these 5 steps.

See how we can help improve your practice by clicking the link below.