Communications reminder checklist

Communication and Health Literacy

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What are communication reminder checklists?

Communication Reminder Checklists, or CRCs, display a mnemonic1 list of things to consider when communicating. One list focuses on written communication and uses the mnemonic I'm Seeing. The other list focuses on spoken communication and uses the mnemonic I'm Hearing. The checklists are available in single-sided poster or as double-sided handy cards.

1[ni-mon-ik] something intended to help the memory, like a verse or formula

Why were they developed?

The need for the CRCs was identified in workshops held with Primary Health Tasmania (PHT- formerly Tasmanian Medicare Local]) staff as part of the Health Literacy – Strengthening self-efficacy and competency for practitioners project.

What is their purpose?

They are designed to be useful, easy-to-use communication reminder tools.

Who can use them?

Anyone! They were developed for PHT administration and clinical staff but may be useful for anyone needing to communicate information to another person.

How were they developed?

Each prompt listed on the CRCs has come from published guidelines and/or relevant literature (see below). They are evidence-based. They do not represent a definitive list of things to consider when communicating, but they do represent the most common things to consider.

Evidence-base for the written (I'm Seeing) CRC:

*        Involvement by my audience in the planning and writing 1 2 4 5 6

*        Main points (no more than three key messages) 1 2 3 4 5

*        Short sentences (about 20 words) 1 2 4 7

*        Easy to read, understandable (grade 6-8 reading level) 1 2 4 7

*        Everyday words or explanation of new/unfamiliar 1 2 4 7

*        Information sources and links 4

*        Neat, clear, friendly format 1 2 4 7

*        Graphics that explain and are relevant 5

Evidence-base for the spoken (I'm Hearing) CRC:

*        Introduction 4 5 7

*        Main points (no more than three key messages) 3 7

*        Helpful questions 3 5

*        Everyday language (plain words, no jargon) 1 2 3 4 5 7

*        'Ask, tell, ask' 3 5 6 7

*        Real life and relevant examples 3

*        Informal tone and slow pace 4 5 7

*        Need for support identified (eg visual aids, prompts, family) 3 5

*        Give a summary 5

Reference List:

1.      Doak, C., Doak, L., & Root, J. (2007). Teaching patients with low literacy skills (2nd ed.). Philadelphia: J. B. Lippincott Company.

2. Rudd, R. (2010). Assessing health materials: Eliminating barriers – increasing access. Retrieved from     

3.  Abrams, M., Kurtz-Rossi, S., Riffenburgh, A., & Savage, B. (Eds.). (2014). Building health literate organisations: A guidebook to achieving organizational change. Retrieved from     

4.  Rudd, R. E., & Anderson, J. E. (2006). The health literacy environment of hospitals and health centers. Retrieved from      

5. DeWalt, D. A., Callahan, L. F., Hawk, V. H., Brouchsou, K. A., Hink, A., Rudd, R., & Brach, C. (2010). Health literacy universal precautions toolkit. Retrieved from toolkit/healthliteracytoolkit.pdf

6.      Brach, C., Keller, D., Hernandez, L. M., Baur, C., Parker, R., Dreyer, B., Schyve, P., Lemerise, A.

J., & Schillinger, D. (2012). Ten attributes of health literate health care organizations (Institute of Medicine Roundtable on Health Literacy Discussion Paper). Retrieved from papers/BPH_Ten_HLit_Attributes.pdf     

7.  Tasmanian Department of Health and Human Services. (2014). Communications and health literacy workplace toolkit. Retrieved from rkplace_toolkit