Using Visual Aids to Enhance Physician-Patient Discussions and Increase Health Literacy

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Abstract

Health literacy refers to the comprehension required to make well-informed decisions regarding one’s health. It is a critical component in helping patients to understand how to take their medications appropriately. However, many patients do not possess the comprehension necessary for medication adherence. The result of poor literacy is a higher incidence of misunderstanding medication instructions. Visual aids have the ability to transcend language and numeracy barriers and can therefore improve the effectiveness of communication and broaden target audiences. To enhance communication that is language independent, a template was created to provide instructions for proper use and explanation of risks for adverse events. This template is designed to fit on a single double-sided page. This template can be adapted for use in explaining any medication using universal pictograms available from online resources. This would enable any practitioner to design information sheets for their unique use.

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