Person looking at medicine label

Tips for healthcare providers

Health literacy and numeracy has two elements:

  • People understand health information correctly and can make an informed decision
  • Health services communicate clearly and take account of possible health literacy and numeracy needs.

Delivering a literacy friendly health service means…

  • You provide a quality service where the person fully understands their condition and what they need to do.
  • You are more effective and efficient.
  • You have fewer misunderstandings and complaints.
  • You save time and money.

Health literacy tips


Communicate using plain English and follow design standards.

Find out more about Plain English.

Give clear, easy to follow verbal information.

Explain any medical terminology.

The layout and signage is clear and easy to follow.

There is a map and floor plan at the main door. There are clear direction signs.

All staff are aware of literacy and numeracy needs and how to respond appropriately and sensitively.

For example, staff offer help with reading information and or filling in a form.

Check that people understand what you have said.

Ask people to repeat back to you:

  1. What is their main problem?
  2. What do they need to do?
  3. Why it is important they need to do this?

Taken from Ask Me 3 Campaign

Watch our recent webinar Making health literacy everyone’s business for more tips.

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