2007 Health Literacy Initiative

A model of health literacy comes to Austin...

People’s Community Clinic and the Literacy Coalition of Central Texas were the 2007 beneficiaries of the 30th annual Statesman Capitol 10,000 presented by Guaranty Bank on Sunday, March 25th. Both People’s Community Clinic and the Literacy Coalition will use the sponsorships raised to develop model health literacy projects that will have a sustaining impact on our community.

"Your naicisyhp has dednemmocer that you have a ypocsonoloc. Ypocsonoloc is a test for noloc recnac. It sevlovni gnitresni a elbixelf gniweiv epocs into your mutcer. You must drink a laiceps diuqil the thgin the noitanimzxe to naelc out your noloc."

No, we haven't gone crazy. The text above, which provides basic information about colonoscopy, provides a sense of what it might be like for a person with limited literacy skills to read a medical handout similar to those often given to patients. We all face the challenges of gathering the information we need about taking care of our health and learning how to act as good advocates for ourselves within today’s complex health care system.

At the People's Community Clinic, we want to strive to create good communication between our providers and patients. Barriers to communication hinder us from providing the great care that we want to provide. Therefore, the Clinic is developing a Health Literacy Initiative for launch in mid-2007.

Developing a model... 

Our goal is to improve the Clinic’s services to patients during their visits and to develop a model that can be used throughout the community. Part of this effort is developing ways for health providers to communicate effectively with low-income, low literacy patients. The other component is developing messages to raise patient awareness about being effective advocates for their own care.

Identifying the issues... 

Before we develop the messages, tools, and strategies of the initiative, we need to identify what the key issues are for patients and health care providers. Research components will include: indentification of best practices in health literacy nationwide; surveys and interivews asking People's Community Clinic health care providers to identify needs and key issues; interivews with 150 PCC patients to assess needs and opportunities. When the research is complete, we will pilot a program in the Clinic in an effort to make our patients more “health literate” and our providers and staff more effective communicators.