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Healthcare forms explained

In this article the 8 forms that were introduced in the previous step will be explained.
Medical questionaire
© IMPACCT consortium

We will go through each of the 8 forms and explore what makes them easy or difficult for people to use.

A) COPD
This is an example of a health-literacy-friendly form, because it is short and clear, it explains the importance of it being fully answered, it is personalised by asking for the patient’s information and referring to you and your’ The form has clear and concise instructions, it shows an example of how to fill in the information asked, and when asking for information it uses simple wording or explains in simpler words the medical jargon used.

B) Medical history
This is not a health-literacy-friendly form because it 4 pages and has questions that might lead to confusion. For example, after asking if the patient smokes or not, it asks How many per day?, assuming all patients that smoke, smoke cigarettes which may not be the case. Similarly the question on alcohol consumption assumes people understand what a unit of alcohol is.

After one question there is the direction “If yes please provide details on the following page” but it is the last page that looks for this information making it easy to miss when completing the form. Highlighting the importance of clear accurate directions within forms. The form uses an incredible amount of medical jargon when asking about previous diseases and conditions. The final question asks if people have other difficulties to make it known – but it is unlikely that those with limited health literacy will have got this far.

C) Patient profile
This is not a health-literacy-friendly form because it uses various abbreviations that might be confusing for patients. It also uses medical jargon, when asking about facilities, or legal jargon, when asking about who has the medical decision making power if people are unable to make decisions for themselves.

D) COVID-19 GP screening form
This is not a health-literacy-friendly form because it starts off with too much text and doesn’t use plain language. Few people use words like triage in everyday life. It uses abbreviations which are confusing for patients. Also, when asking about the patient being in an at risk group the form just spells out a large amount of jargon that is difficult for the lay person to understand, and fails to acknowledge they might be at risk.

E) Asthma
This is an example of a health-literacy-friendly form because it is concise and personalised by asking for the patient’s information using you and your. The form is clear on who it is for and has a set of clear instructions. When asking for information it uses plain language with simple wording while avoiding the use of medical jargon.

F) Australia patient consent
This is not a health-literacy-friendly form, because it uses some abbreviations that people might not understand, especially if they are aware that people might need this form to be translated to them. This form has lots of text that sometimes uses legal jargon. Here and there it asks for understanding where it should ask for consent, like the part where it discusses the extraction of samples.

G) Information sharing agreement
This is an example of a health-literacy-friendly form because it is short, clear and personalised by asking for the patient’s information using you and your. The form makes use of plain language to explain complicated concepts on data privacy to facilitate patient’s understanding. If the patient has difficulty understanding and marks a box with a NO it can trigger the healthcare professional to explain more on the subject so as to ensure understanding.

H) Medical Questionaire
This is not a health-literacy-friendly form, because it does not have the proper amount of space to write down some of the answers which highlights the importance of presentation as well as content. This might lead to missing information, which can have negative consequences for the patient. Although it makes a good job avoiding much medical jargon, there is some which may lead to confusion.

© IMPACCT consortium
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Working with Patients with Limited Health Literacy

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