Tag Archive for: patient-centered

12 Best Practice Tips To Design Helpful Patient Information Materials

As a patient advocate, you may be asked to help review or co-design patient information materials. Or you may wish to create the information yourself because you’ve noticed a gap in helpful information for your patient community.

Good patient information is important for several reasons.

Firstly, it reinforces what a healthcare provider has told the patient. If, due to stress, a patient hasn’t absorbed the information from their provider, a brochure or information sheet serves as a reminder.

Secondly, by educating patients, good information empowers patients with the knowledge, understanding, skills and confidence to take an active role in their health and wellbeing.

Thirdly, by sharing the information with friends and family, their loved ones can take a more active role in supporting the patient.

Whether it’s information for a brochure, leaflet or website, the same design principles apply. Information design should make complex information easy to use and understand, and ultimately empower patients to take a more active role in their care.

The following checklist is designed to help you in your own advocacy work when you are called upon to design patient information materials.

1. Know Your Purpose and Audience

Before you start, consider the purpose behind creating this information. What do you wish to achieve? For example, do you wish to increase understanding or raise awareness of a disease, or give instructions about a procedure or a medication?

Next, who are you creating this information for? Who is your intended reader? Are there health literacy challenges you will need to address with this audience? Consider if audio or video is needed if there are challenges for your audience in reading the information. Consider also if English is not a first language for your intended reader, will you need to create multiple versions of the content in different languages?

2. Use Plain English

Plain English is a way to write and present information so a reader can understand and act on it after a single reading.

Use plain, everyday words. For example, instead of “commence”, write “start”; instead of “in the event that”, use “if”.

Avoid jargon and acronyms. If you have to use medical terminology, explain the terms as you go along. If this clutters up your text, put the explanations in a glossary.

3. Write From The Perspective Of A Newly Diagnosed Patient

As patient advocates, we have most likely been immersed in our disease space for many years. We have become experts in the terminology and language of the medical world. We understand side-effects and know how to weigh up the pros and cons of treatment. But experts are made not born. Think back to those first few days and weeks of diagnosis. Remember the confusion and the uncertainty you probably felt at the time. Put yourself back into those shoes of a newly diagnosed patient and communicate from this perspective.

4. Make It Personal

Write as you would speak to the reader. Using personal pronouns such as “we” and “you” helps create a sense of relatability and trust.

5. Use Direct Language

Adopt present and active tense to make sentences more direct (e.g.” the nurse can vaccinate your child” rather than “ your child can be vaccinated by the nurse”.)

6. Design For Readability

Use short sentences and only include one main point in each sentence.

Try to avoid using hyphens and semicolons.

Keep capitalization to a minimum. Capital letters are harder on the eye. Use lowercase letters throughout the text. Save capital letters for the start of sentences and names.

Left align paragraphs. Left-aligned paragraphs make text easier to read than justified text. Justified text can create gaps between words, which slows down reading particularly for people with dyslexia.

7. Avoid Dense Text

Dense text means patients lose concentration and therefore cannot find the information required. To avoid this, keep your paragraphs short. Short, clear, separated chunks of text encourage those with reading difficulty to continue reading.

Use headings and paragraph breaks to separate blocks of information.

Good use of large text, white space and columns can also help readers to more easily assimilate information. Make sure related information is located together and not split over different columns.

8. Pay Attention to Typography

Typography is the art and technique of arranging type to make written language legible, readable and appealing when displayed. No matter how well written the text is, if it is set out in a typography which is difficult to read, it is going to adversely affect readability and comprehension.

Choose Arial or Calibri type fonts for readability. When it comes to font size, 10 point is too small for most people to read. 12 point is more suitable. Choose 14 point for older people and children. 16 point is used for partially sighted people. Finally spacing between the lines should be 1.5 line spacings.

9. Use Design To Enhance Comprehension

How the information is set out in the document is an important feature of readability and comprehension. People tend to scan when they read information (this is particularly true of online information), so your document should have a logical order and structure to help readers find their way through the information.

You can achieve this in a number of ways, including the use of reversed text (e.g. white lettering on a dark background), headings and subheadings in bold font, bullet or number points. Use bold instead of italics and underlining as italics or underlining make text harder to read.

When using bulleted lists, make sure each item follows logically in sequence. Keep lists to a maximum of eight points where possible and start and end a list on the same column or page.

Tip: Use callouts to highlight key messages for content skimmers.

10. Choose Good Visuals

Visuals such as pictures, diagrams and photos can sometimes say more than words. Ensure the images you use are real, relatable and sympathetic to the reader.

Avoid idealized, ‘photo-shoot’-style images of people.

Choose images that are inclusive. Use images that don’t reinforce negative or stereotypical attitudes especially for ethnicity, age or gender.

11. Be Consistent

Be consistent in your use of design features, such as headings, sub-headings, etc. Describe numbers consistently (for example, don’t use percent on one line and fractions on the next).

12. Signpost to Other Sources of Information

Including other useful sources of information, such as helplines of patient organizations and general sources of medical information is a valuable source of further information and support for patients.

Do not confuse people by covering several treatments and conditions in the same leaflet. Tell people what other information, resources and support are available to them.

Conclusion

Next time you are called upon to design patient information materials, use the checklist in this article to guide you. Providing patients with accurate and actionable information is essential in delivering high quality care to patients and an important element in our patient advocacy.

Disparities in Care: Equality vs. Equity #patientchat Highlights

Last week, we hosted an Empowered #patientchat on “Disparities in Care: Equality vs. Equity” with Diverse Health Hub (@DHealthHub). The #patientchat community came together for an engaging discussion and shared what was their mind.

Top Tweets

Equality vs. Equity


Continued Discussion


Culture Change


Full Chat


For a full list of past #patientchat topics and transcripts, click here.

What Does Patient-Centric Care Look Like For You? #patientchat Highlights

Last week, we hosted an Empowered #patientchat on “What Does Patient-Centric Care Look Like For You?” and the #patientchat community came together for an engaging discussion and shared what was their mind.

Top Tweets

Focus on Patient Activism


Patient-Centric = Viewing Patients as a Whole Person


All Patients Have Different Needs


Full Chat


For a list of all past #patientchat topics and transcripts, click here.

Tag Archive for: patient-centered

Empowered #patientchat – What Does Patient-Centric Care Look Like For You?

You’re Invited! We hope you’ll join us for our next Empowered #patientchat discussion on patient-centric care.

According to the Institute of Medicine, patient-centric care is defined as “providing care that is respectful of and responsive to individual patient preferences, needs and values, ensuring that patient values guide all clinical decisions.” Research conducted in 1993 by the Picker Institute in conjunction with the Harvard School of Medicine which identified eight dimensions of patient-centered care. These eight principles provide a roadmap for a patient-centered approach to the care of chronic illness.

Guiding our discussion will be the following Topic (T#:) Questions:

T1: What does care look like to you when it is patient-centered? (for appointments, results, treatment, medical records, etc.) #patientchat

T2: Have you seen these concepts put into practice? Examples? What has worked well? #patientchat

T3: Would you consider your doctor to be patient-centered? Why or why not? #patientchat

T4: What are some of the barriers to a patient-centered approach? #patientchat

T5: How can a patient-centric approach add value outside of the clinical experience? #patientchat

We hope to see you Friday, January 24th on Twitter (or tchat.io/rooms/patientchat) at 10:00 am Pacific / 1:00 pm Eastern. Be sure to include the hashtag #patientchat in all your responses!


Empowered Patient Chats (#patientchat) are held every other Friday at 10:00 am Pacific / 1:00 pm Eastern and during the chat patients and advocates come to learn from each other and discuss topics of interest to empowered patients.

Click HERE to learn more about the Empowered #patientchat Series plus read tips on how to participate.

I'll be at the Empowered #patientchat on Fri 1/24 1pm ET. Join me! Click To Tweet

June 14th Empowered #patientchat: How Does An Empowered Patient Approach Care Coordination?

You’re Invited! We hope you’ll join us for our next Empowered #patientchat as we discuss care coordination. Care coordination is “the deliberate organization of patient care activities between two or more participants (including the patient) involved in a patient’s care to facilitate the appropriate delivery of health care services.”

Care coordination can mean different things to different people, but mostly includes the following aspects of care:

  • Managing the exchange of information among participants responsible for different aspects of care
  • Synchronizes the delivery of a patient’s health care from multiple providers and specialists.
  • Avoiding unnecessary and/or redundant tests and procedures, which can both improve the care experience and reduce the cost of care
  • Assessing all of a patient’s needs – not just their immediate clinical needs

We hope to see you Friday, June 14th on Twitter (or tchat.io/rooms/patientchat) at 10:00 am Pacific / 1:00 pm Eastern. Be sure to include the hashtag #patientchat in all your responses!

Guiding our discussion will be the following Topic (T#:) Questions:

T1: Why is care coordination important? #patientchat

T2: How can care coordination be put into action? #patientchat

T3: In your opinion, who is involved and responsible for coordinating care? #patientchat

T4: What are the elements of successful care coordination? #patientchat

T5: How coordinated is the care experience for you? #patientchat


Empowered Patient Chats (#patientchat) are held every other Friday at 10:00 am Pacific / 1:00 pm Eastern and during the chat patients and advocates come to learn from each other and discuss topics of interest to empowered patients.

Click HERE to learn more about the Empowered #patientchat Series plus read tips on how to participate.

I'll be at the Empowered #patientchat on Fri 6/14 1pm ET. Join me! Click To Tweet

Empowered #patientchat – Patients Included – In Radiology?

You’re Invited! We hope you’ll join us for our next Empowered #patientchat as we discuss how radiology can include patients and become more patient-centered.

Patient-centered care (i.e., care organized around the patient), as defined by the University of Cincinnati Medical Centers Radiology Department, is a model in which health care providers partner with patients and families to identify and satisfy patients’ needs and preferences. They go on the explain that radiologists have traditionally been characterized as “doctor-to-doctor” consultant who spends most of the time in dark reporting rooms interacting with a computer screen only.

As medicine becomes more patient driven, radiology departments need to embrace this movement. One step in the right direction is The Journal of the American College of Radiology (JACR) and the ACR AC Patient Subcommittee’s Patient Summaries. These summaries are intended to help patients understand what tests are appropriate for their situation, and are designed to help ordering physicians and radiologists better communicate the reason they are requesting, or performing, a particular imaging test.

We will be joined by special guest, a diagnostic radiologist and RSNA representative,  Jennifer Kemp, MD, FACR, Vice President, Diversified Radiology of Colorado. Dr. Kemp is active nationally in the movement of ‘patient centered radiology’; she is an advocate for helping patients understand their imaging examinations and is passionate about making sure that each and every patient has the safest and most appropriate imaging examination to answer the question at hand. Dr. Kemp’s Care Philosophy is “Patient first in all that I do.”

We hope to see you Friday, October 5th on Twitter (or tchat.io/rooms/patientchat) at 10:00 am Pacific | 1:00 pm Eastern. Be sure to include the hashtag #patientchat in all your responses!

Guiding our discussion will be the following Topic Questions (T#):

T1: Why should hospitals and outpatient imaging centers focus on being patient-centered? #patientchat

T2: What are the dimensions of patient-centered care that are relevant to radiology departments? #patientchat

T3: What should be implemented? Describe the interventions that promote a patient-centered environment. #patientchat

T4: Now speaking to radiologists themselves. How can radiologists lead patient-centered care? #patientchat

T5: Do you have a good or bad example of patient-centered care in a radiology department? Describe your experience. #patientchat


Empowered Patient Chats (#patientchat) are held every other Friday at 10:00 am Pacific / 1:00 pm Eastern on Twitter and during the chat patients and advocates come to learn from each other and discuss topics of interest to empowered patients.

Click HERE to learn more about the Empowered #patientchat Series plus read tips on how to participate.

I'll be at the Empowered #patientchat on Fri 10/5 at 10amPT | 1pmET. Join me! Click To Tweet


Extra Reading:

https://healthmanagement.org/c/imaging/post/why-we-do-need-to-humanize-radiology#

https://www.jacr.org/content/ac-patient-summaries