We all need the ability to find, understand and use information for health. Health professionals are in a key position to help.
Around one in six Australians might not be able to access, understand, evaluate and communicate health information in a way that helps them to maintain and improve their own health.
Resources for health professionals
Use of specific techniques can improve health outcomes among patients with low health literacy. For example, using ‘teach back’ to verify understanding has been shown to improve diabetic control.
Express use of other techniques such as ‘ask-me-3’, or motivational interviewing and goal setting are reported to be effective at improving communication.
Some common sense approaches can be also be effective, including:
- using plain language that’s free of medical jargon
- sitting face-to-face with the patient
- using simple diagrams or pictograms to illustrate explanations
- using educational materials geared to individuals with low health literacy.
- repeating directions and recommendations, just to be sure they are being heard
- frankly asking patients whether they understand their treatment plan, the purpose of any medications and the dosing of those medications.
The full report is here.
Helpful resources for patients
Six videos from the Better Health Channel to help in understanding the health system including services, treatment, care and education for everyone in Victoria.
- Refer a patient with Type II diabetes to a self-management course:
- Translation Services - Translating and Interpreting Service (TIS) National
- A guide to accessing and using TIS for health professionals working in private practice
- Online register for TIS National services, including fee paying and free services
- Appointment reminder translation tool
- Medicines fact sheets from NPS MedicineWise in English and 10 other languages
- Languages include: Arabic, Chinese, Croatian, Greek, Italian, Korean, Macedonian Spanish and Vietnamese.
- My Health Visit Today
- Living well @ every age
- Health information
- Finding a service
Events and Education See all
We acknowledge the Kulin Nation who are the traditional custodians of the land our catchment covers. We pay our respects to them, their culture and their Elders past, present and future, and uphold their relationship to this land.
While the Australian Government Department of Health has contributed to the funding of this website, the information on this website does not necessarily reflect the views of the Australian Government and is not advice that is provided, or information that is endorsed, by the Australian Government. The Australian Government is not responsible in negligence or otherwise for any injury, loss or damage however arising from the use of or reliance on the information provided on this website.