Clear communication is the foundation that allows patients to understand and act on health information. The IHS Health Literacy Workgroup produced Let’s TALK, a tool designed to improve health communication between patients and providers. Let's TALK promotes four simple steps (tell, ask, learn, and act) that patients should discuss with providers in every health care interaction. To improve communication, we recommend providers encourage patients to talk about ways to maintain good health by incorporating the following in their visits:
- Tell us what is going on.
- Ask us what you can do about it.
- Learn from us about where to get more information.
- Act on this to Keep healthy.
Using these techniques can improve patient participation in the treatment plan.
What Can Providers Do?
- Promote health literacy as essential for good patient care and positive health outcomes;
- Encourage your patients to use the Let’s TALK approach to increase their patients comfort level with asking questions;
- Create a safe environment where patients feel comfortable talking openly with you;
- Use plain language instead of technical language or medical jargon;
- Sit down (instead of standing) to achieve eye level with your patient; Use visual models to illustrate a procedure or condition; and
- Ask patients to "teach-back" the care instructions you give to them.
Download the Let's TALK [PDF - 578 KB] poster.