New Health Literacy Course Improves Healthcare Team IQ

The typical patient walking out of a doctor’s appointment can remember only about half of what they were just told. The combination of a flood of information, new terminology and, in some cases, shock can make it difficult for anyone to absorb everything.

Adults' Health Literacy Level

This fact is at odds with common assumptions about health literacy. Members of healthcare teams are often incorrect supposing that patients with low health literacy are poor, elderly, uneducated or non-native English speakers. While those kinds of populations may indeed have difficulty understanding treatment and prevention, it’s still a dangerous misconception that leads to a remarkably low health literacy rate. Government research shows that 9 out of 10 people lack the skills they need to manage their health and prevent disease.

But a new web-based course developed for healthcare professionals uses new research and assessment tools to make it easier to identify and address low health literacy rates across socioeconomic lines.

Health Literacy: A Start” from Talance, Inc., is geared to both clinical and nonclinical staff who want to improve the way patients are able to understand and use health information. The course launches Dec. 9, 2013, and provides background on the seriousness of low health literacy,  and shows specific methods of working around literacy obstacles.

For example, people with low health literacy may be unable to understand warning labels on bottles. “Health Literacy: A Start” instructs participants in how to uncover low literacy levels–which can be hard to detect–and gives them “plain English” writing skills so they deliver jargon-free instructions.

“Low health literacy affects people no matter what color their skin is, how old they are or what country they were born in,” says Monique Cuvelier, CEO of Talance.

“I feel so excited about offering this course, because its potential impact is so great. Better health literacy can reduce healthcare costs dramatically and even save lives. The more people we can guide to improving health understanding will improve society as a whole.”

Registration for the course is now open at

[Figure: Only 12 percent of U.S. adults have proficient health literacy. More than a third of adults are in the basic (47 million) and below basic (30 million) health literacy groups. The majority of adults (53 percent) had intermediate health literacy skills. Source: America’s Health Literacy: Why We Need Accessible Health Information ]

About Talance, Inc: Talance, Inc., is a Boston-area e-learning company founded in 2000. It has offered courses and programs for some of the nation’s biggest health and human services organizations and has helped adult learners reach their career advancement and personal enrichment goals. Learn more at

CONTACT: Monique Cuvelier, [email protected]

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