This manual from the American Medical Association Foundation describes the importance of effective communication between physicians and patients, especially when there are communication barriers due to low health literacy.  The manual includes descriptions of best practices for ensuring effective communication with all patients, include using teach-back techniques and ensuring that patients can answer the “ask me three” questions about their diagnosis and treatment plan.  The three questions are:

  • What is my main problem?
  • What do I need to do (about the problem)?
  • Why is it important for me to do this?

Physicians are eligible for CME credit for reviewing the contents of the manual.  The learning objectives for the content are:

  • Define the scope of the health literacy problem.
  • Recognize health system barriers faced by patients with low literacy.
  • Implement improved methods of verbal and written communication.
  • Incorporate practical strategies to create a shame-free environment.

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