I was at my doctor’s office this morning and as a patient, I tend to look through the lens of health literacy at the entire visit while there. That lens leads me to read signage, watch and listen to discussions and interactions and assess my own visit. I look and listen with the perspective that a limited literacy reader might have.
This morning, I read the sign in my doctor’s office “Remember to bring all your medications with you on the your visit. Don’t forget!” The image at the top of the sign showed the subhead “Medication List” and a red checkmark.
I wondered how many people brought their actual medication bottles with them to each appointment. In actuality, the doctor wants you to bring your list of medications with you. They check at each visit to see if you are still taking the medications on your list. However, limited literacy readers and anyone experiencing impacted health literacy would read this literally and bring their medication vials, bottles, etc.
It’s important to remember that writing in Plain Language means you eliminate any assumptions that you want the reader to make. They tend to read and comprehend very literally so keep this in mind when writing your Plain Language Communications.