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October is Health Literacy Month: Prepare Now!

October is Health Literacy Month: Prepare Now!

October is Health Literacy Month: Prepare Now!

While everyone is enjoying the summer, we’re already thinking about October, which is Health Literacy Month! It’s a great time to collaborate on strategies that highlight the important role of health literacy in improving patient safety and patient outcomes.

While we definitely think health literacy deserves your year-round attention, here are some ideas to get you started planning your own Health Literacy Month events and programming.

3 formats to communicate & educate about health literacy:

There are many different ways to introduce health literacy best practices to your organization.

  1. Develop a health literacy toolkit so all employees are on the same page. This may include written materials or e-learning programs which can be customized to your organization. This type of foundational information can be shared initially in October, and then incorporated with ongoing initiatives during the year. The goal is to integrate health literacy principles throughout the fabric of your organization.

  2. Hire a health literacy expert to educate and share knowledge. Health literacy subject matter experts can provide educational presentations or workshops to organizations, or can provide community presentations to educate health consumers. In-person presentations have a unique energy and allow for the content to be tailored to your audience and needs.

  3. Create a written material blueprint so all employees can have access to the same guiding principles and everyone is working toward the same goals. Assess, review and develop guidelines and processes for all patient and consumer written materials to ensure the integration of culture, language and health literacy principles while maintaining consistent branding and messaging.

3 audiences that can benefit from learning more about health literacy:

Health literacy is most effective when it is integrated across the entire organization.

  1. Leadership – Providing consulting in an interdisciplinary and integrated approach reinforces the interconnectedness of health literacy, language and culture in healthcare. Combining cultural competency and language access services into health literacy training also allows organizations to offer more effective training that is less costly and time sensitive.

  2. Workforce – Providers want to deliver person-centered care, but often times a communication gap occurs between the provider delivering the care and the individual that is receiving the care. Focusing on health literacy as an essential component of all workforce development and trainings will help provide respectful care that is meaningful, understandable and actionable, and will help promote a positive experience and better outcomes.

  3. Community – As our communities become increasingly diverse in age, race, ethnicity, socioeconomic status and proficiency in English, we need to deliver care that is culturally and linguistically appropriate. Direct community outreach and health education may be the most effective way to start the two-way dialogue that is central to health literacy.

Health Literacy Partners can help you launch an effective health literacy initiative that will provide enhanced results for your organization and for your community. Planning health literacy events or creating health literacy trainings can take several weeks to several months.

Contact us now so that you are prepared for Health Literacy Month in October—and beyond!

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