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  • Avoid Medical Jargon When Speaking to Patients, Says ACOG

    All health care entities are responsible for recognizing and addressing limited health literacy, according to a Committee Opinion of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) that encourages health care professionals to keep messages simple, avoid using medical jargon, and tailor health care instructions to each patient.

    Published in the May issue of Obstetrics & Gynecology, the ACOG's opinion outlines a number of concrete ways for physicians and other health care providers to help communicate clearly with patients, including:

    • using medically trained language interpreters when necessary,
    • asking patients to restate what they've been told in their own words to gauge their understanding,
    • using written materials with a limited number of simple messages, and
    • using visual aids for key points.

    For more information on health literacy, resources, and strategies to improve the usability of health information and advocate for health literacy in your organization, visit the Department of Health and Human Services' Quick Guide to Health Literacy Web page. 

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