Write Medicine

Plain Language Patient Education

February 28, 2021 Alexandra Howson PhD Season 1 Episode 3
Write Medicine
Plain Language Patient Education
Show Notes Chapter Markers

Dr. Genevieve Long is a medical writer and editor specializing in patient education, plain language, health literacy and marketing communications. She began her medical writing career as a manuscript editor at Oregon Health & Science University and has more than 25 years of healthcare experience. Dr. Genevieve has been active in the American Medical Writers Association since 2002 and is the past president of AMWA-Northwest. She also teaches at the University of Chicago Graham School on the subjects of medical writing and editing.

In this week’s episode, Dr.  Long shares:

  •  How she got into this specialized field
  • Better ways to practice patient empathy, and 
  • What healthcare professionals need to focus on first when it comes to creating educational content. 

Key Takeaways

[3:38] A little bit about Dr. Genevieve and how she got into the field of patient education.

[9:02] Dr. Genevieve shares what people need to be thinking about when they begin to write patient education materials. 

You might not realize it, but you have a lot of power and what you do/say can hurt the patient. 

For many health care professionals, the world of medicine is a comfortable place. For patients and their loved ones, it is not. It’s a traumatic experience for them. 

[13:16] When it comes to creating content, you want to focus on the most important content first. People have short attention spans! 

Get clear on what’s a ‘need to know’ vs. a ‘nice to know’. 

Should all of your words be short? Dr. Genevieve says no, but spacing plays a big role in readability. 

When it comes to adult learning, the more you’re engaged and interacting with the content, the better of an understanding you’ll get. Dr. Genevieve tries to incorporate this principal into her classes. 

[19:19] Patients who are engaged with their own healthcare journey tend to do better in their recovery. 

When faculty talks about ‘empowerment’, what do they really mean when it comes to patient education? 

[22:31] How are educators and providers thinking about information sharing and content creation in today’s landscape? 

[25:09] Dr. Genevieve shares the different types of materials she’s worked on over the years to make content more digestible. Informational videos are doing exceedingly well. 

[30:00] What resources are out there that content creators can leverage when creating simple and easy to understand patient education materials?

[33:45] Dr. Genevieve shares her tips on building a more empathic approach to her writing. 

Spend time with patients! Your materials will immensely improve. 

[37:25] The more people we can bring into science, the less fear people might have on certain medical procedures. 

[40:00] What don’t we do enough of in patient education? Dr. Genevieve shares her thoughts on usability testing.  

Resources

Thistleeditorial.com
Connect with Dr. Genevieve: Bridgehealthcomm.com
Stacks.cdc.gov/Simply+put
Healthliteracy.com
Health Literacy Experts: Rima Rudd/Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health
Multiregional Clinical Trial Center 

Host: Alexandra Howson PhD
Sound Engineer: Suzen Marie
Shownotes: Anna Codina

Genevieve's story
Evidence base for creating patient education content
Write to attention span
Promote patient engagement
Use familiar language
Impact of health literacy research
Resources for creating patient education materials
How to build empathy in patient education
Research your audience
Usability testing