Clear communication is the foundation for patients to be able to understand and act on health information. DHSS recommends Ask Me 3 developed by the Partnership for Clear Health Communication. Ask Me 3 is a quick, effective tool designed to improve health communication between patients and providers. Developed by leading health literacy experts, Ask Me 3 promotes three simple but essential questions that patients should ask their providers in every health care interaction. Providers should always encourage their patients to understand the answers to:
Using these techniques can improve patient participation in the treatment plan.
What Can Providers do? Health literacy is essential for good patient care and positive health outcomes.
Studies have shown that 40-80 percent of the medical information patients receive is forgotten immediately and nearly half of the information retained is incorrect. One of the easiest ways to close the gap of communication between clinician and patient is to employ the “teach-back” method, also known as the “show-me” method or “closing the loop.” Teach-back is a way to confirm that you have explained to the patient what they need to know in a manner that the patient understands. Patient understanding is confirmed when they explain it back to you. It can also help the clinic staff members identify explanations and communication strategies that are most commonly understood by patients.
Taken from the Indian Health Service (IHS) website: https://www.ihs.gov/healthcommunications/health-literacy/teach-back/.
Plain language (also called Plain English or lay language) is communication that your audience can understand the first time they read or hear it. Language that is plain to one set of readers may not be plain to others.
President Obama signed the Plain Writing Act of 2010 [PDF - 124 KB] on October 13, 2010. The law requires federal agencies to use "clear Government communication that the public can understand and use." The Act imposes several requirements on federal agencies:
The Act requires agencies to use plain writing in every paper or electronic letter, publication, form, notice, or instruction. While regulations are exempt, the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs encourages plain writing in the preambles of regulations.
Taken from the Indian Health Service (IHS) website: https://www.ihs.gov/healthcommunications/plain-language/.