Alt: A doodle with a cat face talks to a doodle doctor via video chat. Doctor Doodle asks, “Can you tell me the steps to take care of your cat’s head?” The other doodle says, “Of course. I’ll do the hokey-pokey first. Then I will turn around. Doctor Doodle replies: “Yes! That’s the whole story! “

As you probably know by now, dear readers, we usually offer you some expert health advice to create health education materials. But putting health literacy best practices into practice is not alone on writing. And we know that for many of you, face-to-face conversations are an integral part of your job.

Teaching someone health information in person – or over the phone or Zoom – gives you a key advantage over written materials: you can know in real time if your audience understands the information you’re communicating – and then explain it. in a new way if he doesn’t.

How, you ask? The learning method! It is a technique that health care providers and health educators can use to check their understanding. And with the increasing number of telehealth visits – where health literacy issues might be more difficult to spot – it can be very important to have a solid strategy to ensure that you are effectively explaining health information.

Basically, the tutorial consists of 4 steps:

1. Explain the information. You know the exercise: use plain language, choose culturally familiar terms and examples, and focus on relevant action steps. If you’re explaining an action – for example, how to find allergens on a food label – show it if you can.

2. Check your comprehension. This step is essential because we know that people tend to say that they understand health information even when they really don’t. So instead of asking, “Do you understand?”, Ask people to explain what you said to them in their own words. Emphasize that you are not testing their but rather check how much you explained the information. Try something like this: “I know that was a lot of information, and I want to make sure I explained everything correctly. Can you tell me in your own words what to do after this visit? “

3. Explain again if necessary. If your first explanation didn’t quite do the job, explain again in a new way. Try writing down the information you give, circling the key information on a document they can take home, or navigating to a web page together.

4. Double check the understanding. Again ask people to explain in their own words. Focus on whatever they struggled with the first time around. You can get creative here as well – if you’ve shown someone how to do something, like using an inhaler, have them show you how they would do it.

The Bottom Line: For in-person, phone, and video health conversations, training is a simple and effective way to make sure people understand health information.

Tweet about it: For face-to-face – or virtual – conversations, the learning method is a great way to make sure people understand health information. @CommunicateHlth explains how to use it: #HealthLit #HealthComm