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 given lots of new information to process and understand. Many people struggle to understand new medical information, ask questions and make decisions about what is the right thing for them to do. This can be particularly hard if:
- you are stressed
- you don’t understand medical terms or don’t have a detailed knowledge of how your body works
- you are given lots of complex, new information in a short timeframe.
Unfortunately, in most health care appointments this is how medical information is given to you.
Most patients, regardless of their health literacy skills, only remember some (20-60%) of the information provide in a medical setting. Almost half (50%) of the information that they do remember is wrong. The more information presented, the less 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.