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Facilitating understanding is understandable. Understood?

Easily-understandable materials can improve patients' health with limited health literacy so they can make better informed health-related decisions.
Tangled lines
© IMPACCT consortium

According to the systematic review by Jager et al. (2019), patients with limited health literacy would benefit from more easily-understandable materials on how to manage their disease or lifestyle as it results in positive behaviour change and makes them feel like they can translate information into action themselves.

From these findings, how can we provide information to people with limited health literacy that is more easily understood? The systematic review offers the following options:

  • Clear information (e.g. avoiding the use of jargon in favor of simple language);
  • Realistic information so that people can relate to it (e.g. Including the experience of other patients);
  • Clear practical instructions;
  • “Show how” demonstrations (e.g. asking patients to apply their insulin shots during the consultation);
  • Use of visual information (e.g. diagrams, pictures, images);
  • Communication tailored to patients’ needs and expectations;
  • Limited amount of information given at a time.

Can you think of other examples on how to make health related information more understandable for patients with limited health literacy? Leave a comment with your ideas.


Jager, M., de Zeeuw, J., Tullius, J., Papa, R., Giammarchi, C., Whittal, A., & de Winter, A. F. (2019). Patient Perspectives to Inform a Health Literacy Educational Program: A Systematic Review and Thematic Synthesis of Qualitative Studies. International journal of environmental research and public health, 16(21), 4300.

© IMPACCT consortium
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Working with Patients with Limited Health Literacy

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