Providing clear and useful information is an important component of supporting people to be involved in decisions and to make positive choices. But information alone is often not enough.
There is a close correlation between ill health and low levels of health literacy. Health literacy has been defined as the ability to read, understand and act upon health information.
Supporting people’s information needs is therefore much more than simply providing health information. It is also about building competence to make health decisions. This is relevant to the whole population, not just those with low basic literacy and numeracy skills. Being able to obtain, understand and use information is essential for good health.
We compiled information from 85 systematic reviews and found that the top things you can do to improve patient information and understanding are:
providing specific and tailored information and education
making information and support available electronically
providing telephone helplines, teleconsultations, telehealth and telemonitoring