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An Author’s Guide, a handbook on creating effective patient education materials, can now be accessed at www.med.utah.edu/pated. The information, which was compiled by a committee at the University of Utah Hospitals and Clinics in Salt Lake City for in-house authors, can now benefit all health care professionals who log on. The guide for writing patient education materials includes a flowsheet that charts the entire writing process, information on copyright and how to obtain permission to use material from a copyright holder, facts on literacy and readability testing, as well as patient pretesting before putting materials into circulation. A section on clear writing provides concrete instruction and offers several tips.
Another valuable section is the substitute word list, which provides authors of patient education materials suggestions on terms that are more patient friendly vs. more formal jargon. For example, the word walk is more easily understood than ambulate and yearly is more commonly used than annually.