University of Missouri School of Medicine MU Health School of Medicine

CHP's health literacy clinical simulation goes to Omaha

April 2011 CHP E-news

University of Missouri Clinic Simulation from Health Literacy Missouri on Vimeo.

It's widely believed that health literacy is a strong predictor of a person's health outcomes, and that doctors and healthcare providers can be effective mediators in improving a person's health literacy and understanding of the problem. But who trains the doctors and other healthcare professionals in health literacy and effective communication? The answer: an innovative health literacy training program from the Center for Health Policy and Health Literacy Missouri.

Known as a "clinical simulation," doctors and care providers are trained in health literacy tools and techniques. Then they are given a chance to practice those communication techniques with actors playing the role of patients. Doctors and care providers are introduced to and allowed to practice health literacy techniques to improve understanding, such as "teach back method." This simple practice to determine whether a patient understands the medical information being shared, and comprehends the next steps they need to take can go a long way to ensuring patient understanding necessary for them to take an active role in their health care.

"This is a very exciting program," said CHP Associate Director Stan Hudson."We have been able to raise awareness and get health professionals to engage in meaningful reflection about their everyday interactions with patients, and now we can provide a learning experience that provides them with the tools necessary to change the way they practice."

A few weeks ago, Ioana Staiculescu, research specialist at CHP, presented findings from our clinical simulation trainings to the Central Group on Educational Affairs' (CGEA) Spring Conference, Omaha, NE. CGEA is part of the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) and is a regional organization of thirty-seven (37) medical schools. Download a copy of the presentation.

"There was a lot of interest in our program," shared Staiculescu. "Since CGEA is part of the AAMC, there were many providers there who shared that experience of knowing their patients were confused leaving the office. We are hopeful to be able to expand this model and train more doctors in the spring."

Learn more about CHP's health literacy projects.

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