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Less (complex text), can mean more

Written communication should also be understandable for all the patients, so the use of plain language, among other strategies, can help achieve this.
Sample from dictionary
© IMPACCT consortium

The concept of plain language is relevant to written health information as well, for they should share the same requirements of plain language as interpersonal interactions. Providing information in plain language will support the interaction between patients and health professionals.

The systematic review, also identified the need, from the patients perspective, of comprehensible written information. This included the need for the use of plain language, presented in a clear, concise and understandable way with visual depictions and images.

While this appears the right thing to do, research consistently shows that much written health information is provided in a way that many patients find difficult to understand. (Jager et al. 2019)

We invite you to look for an example of written health information that does not meet and one that does meet these patient-identified criteria for comprehensible written health information. Preferably dealing with the same topic. That means it uses plain language, presented in a clear, concise and understandable way with visual depictions and images.

Please share the examples you find by posting them on this online photowall. After sharing, compare and contrast the examples your fellow learners have found, see if you can find something you can use in your practice.

Further exploration of health literacy and written health information is provided in the upcoming online course on health-literate-friendly organisations.


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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