The Faythe Medical Centre has recently received the Crystal Clear Mark from the National Adult Literacy Agency (NALA) and MSD, supported by Healthy Ireland. This Crystal Clear Mark recognises general practices that deliver a health literacy friendly service to their patients. This means the service takes account of and supports the literacy and numeracy needs of its patients and regularly evaluates and improves its health literacy practices.
NALA is an independent charity committed to making sure people with literacy and numeracy difficulties can fully take part in society and have access to learning opportunities that meet their needs. According to the last international survey, one in six Irish adults struggle with everyday text such as reading a health leaflet, filling in a form or sending an email. For more information on NALA please click here.
In 2015 NALA launched the Crystal Clear Pharmacy and General Practice Programme – Ireland’s first health literacy quality mark for pharmacies and general practices. It was developed by NALA, MSD and the Irish Pharmacy Union (IPU) and is supported by Healthy Ireland. The programme was developed to recognise the critical role pharmacies and general practices play in helping patients understand their health issues and take the practical steps to improve their health. Crystal Clear supports pharmacists and general practitioners improve their services ensuring important health information is better communicated and understood between health practitioners and their patients. This is an investment in better health outcomes for all people in Ireland.
The Faythe Medical Centre is the fifth General Practice in Ireland to hold this certification.
Many people who deal effectively with other aspects of their lives find health information difficult to get, understand, or use. Patients are often faced with complex information and treatment decisions. International research has shown that patients who are better informed about their health have more effective consultations with their health care provider, are better informed about the medicines they are prescribed, are more likely to comply with their medication and as a result have improved health outcomes.
Irish research in 2015, shows that Irish people want healthcare professionals to use less medical jargon:
- Two in five (39%) Irish people are calling for doctors, nurses and pharmacists to use more understandable language and less medical jargon. This was followed by speaking less formally (22%) and taking more time to explain things (18%).
- 17% of people surveyed said they had taken the wrong amount of medication on at least one occasion.
- People aged 15 – 34 years were least likely to ask a doctor, nurse or pharmacist to explain things they don’t understand.
- Embarrassment was ranked as the main reason for not seeking more information from a healthcare professional (24%).
What is health literacy and numeracy?
Health literacy and numeracy has two elements:
- health services communicate clearly and take account of possible health literacy and numeracy needs; and
- people understand health information correctly and are confident in making decisions and taking action about their health and wellbeing.
People working in the healthcare sector play an important part in improving health literacy and numeracy by communicating more clearly and making information and services more accessible to patients. For more information on health literacy and some tips for the public and services, see the NALA factsheet.