Written Communication

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Lots of health information is conveyed through written communication like brochures, instructions, websites, forms or posters.

There are some simple ways we can make sure that this information is clear, easy to access, understand and act on.

Here are a few ideas:

Drop the Jargon and use plain English

These Plain Language Resources can help:

 

 Instead of:  Use:
 Condition  How you feel
 Avoid  Do not do/use
 Chronic  Long term/life-long
 Adequate  Enough
 Monitor  Keep an eye on/watch out for
 Referral  Ask to see another health professional
 Cardiac  Heart

 

  • Give the most important information first
  • Chunk text into smaller sections with dot points or lists
  • Use one plain font – e.g. Arial or Times New Roman
  • Bold for emphasis, NOT CAPITALS
  • Plenty of white space
  • Diagrams or pictures only if these enhance understanding
  • Seek consumer feedback. The feedback form and feedback documentation  templates can help.
  • Use a readability check to work out the school grade level needed to easily read and understand your information.
    • Readability Test -This website gives you a list of sentences to rewrite to aid readability
    • Average readability score -This website gives you an average readability score using a few different formulas.
    • Hemingway -This website highlights sentences you can change to improve readability.

For a full list, download the Checklist for designing consumer-friendly health information

Make sure you also check local guidelines for developing health information.

Northern NSW Local Health District clinical guidelines:

 

How Can Staff Help With Health Literacy?   Verbal Communication