New resource to simplify patient information

The WSLHD Health Literacy Hub team are working to provide practical support to staff to help simplify communication.

Do your patients find it hard to understand healthcare information?

Every day Western Sydney Local Health District (WSLHD) commits substantial staff time and resources to patient communication and education across all services.

  Interactions provide important information, instruction and advice to patients, carers and members of the community.

Despite our best intentions, a significant proportion of communications with our patients and carers are unsuccessful, often leading to confusion and frustration on both sides.

As a consequence, we fail to achieve the intended quality and safety improvements in patient care.

The WSLHD Health Literacy Hub team are working to provide practical support to staff to help simplify communication and education across our District.

A Patient Education Portal (PEP) is being created to enable staff to create more impactful and effective written patient information.

“Quite simply, the responsibility is ours as health professionals to communicate in a form that patients will understand,” said Don Nutbeam, who heads the WSLHD Health Literacy Hub.

“The Patient Education Portal (PEP) will be a ’one-stop-shop’ online site, accessible through the Health Literacy Hub web site, which will enable staff to search and develop plain English health resources including written, audiovisual, factsheets and poster materials.”

Developed originally by Illawarra Shoalhaven Local Health District, the portal is being adapted to suit the needs of our District.

The portal has been identified as best practice by the Australian Commission for Safety and Quality in Healthcare (ACSQHC) and has been positively reviewed in a formal evaluation process.

PEP is underpinned by the principles of the existing WSLHD Guideline for developing consumer publications (Feb 2018), which sets out clear procedures for developing plain English consumer health information resources, and for involving consumers in the testing of these resources.

On the PEP site you will find:

  • Links to health literacy information, tools and resources
  • A step-by-step guide to help you develop plain English consumer resources including pamphlets, fact sheets and posters for your patients and carers
  • A Readability Calculator to score the readability of your resource
  • A Plain Language Thesaurus for health communication
  • Templates both in MS word and in MS publisher to use when developing fact sheets, posters and brochures and any other publicly-facing material
  • Tools to involve consumers in testing your resources
  • A step-by-step printing guide
  • A register and open access for staff, to plain English and translated consumer information developed by our District. 

The health literacy hub portal is anticipated to go live in December, with the PEP to be launched soon after.

 Stay tuned as we bring you updates on this exciting new resource!