Effective communication

Health literacy

A care coordinator who values effective communication will also consider a person’s health literacy.

Health literacy is concerned with the way consumers find, understand, use, and act on information about health and health care.

This can be verbal, written or online information, information embedded into the environment (such as signage and wayfinding), or information embedded in systems and processes of health care.

Health literacy is critical to a person's empowerment in the management of their health.

Good health literacy improves a person's ability to access health information as well as their capacity to use that information effectively.

Here's a few examples of health literacy issues:

  • What message(s) has the person taken away from what has been said to them during an appointment?
  • Do they know how to find the health service that they have been told to use?
  • A person might have an appointment with a new specialist in two months' time, but do they know where the practice is located and how to get there?

Teach-back is a simple conversational tool used to check client understanding of health information they have received. Using teach-back can help your clients self-manage their health and make informed decisions about their health care. Teach-back is not a test of the clients’ knowledge; it’s a test of how well you have communicated. 

Find out more about teach-back >


Health literacy