Communicating about health is hard
One of the key roles of health professionals is to give you information about your health condition, what treatment options you have, and what the next steps are.
Patients are often presented with lots of information to process and understand. Many people struggle to understand new medical information, ask questions and make decisions. This can be particularly hard if:
- you are stressed,
- you don’t understand medical terms or have a detailed knowledge of how your body works, and
- you are given lots of complex, new information in a short timeframe.
Unfortunately, the nature of most health care appointments means this is often how medical information is presented to you.
Most patients, regardless of their health literacy skills, remember approximately 20-60% of information provide in a medical setting. Almost half (50%) of the information that is remembered is incorrect. The more information presented, the lower the amount that is remembered correctly.
This can make it hard to make choices about your health care, take medications safely, prepare for tests or surgery, and make positive lifestyle changes.
You can find information that will help you get the most out of communicating with a health provider in this section of the website – you can see the options in the menu on the left of this page.