Guide to Patients with Limited Literacy

November 15, 2007

Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality has published a guide on the Health IT needs for those with limited literacy. Reported by the American Academy of Family Physicians, this is a significant step in drawing attention to those who are beyond the digital divide in that they lack the language skills to interact with a computer. Some basic recommendations include: text should be written plainly in no higher than a 6th grade level, utilizing white space and short lines, appeal to ethnically diverse populations, and consider tools like kiosks. CHESS (Comprehensive Health Enhancement Support System) breast cancer module from the University of Wisconsin is given as a model, among others.

This report should be read by vendors, web developers, PHR creators and others who create patient facing IT systems.

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