Health literacy and teach back

What: A programme of health literacy and ‘teach back’ to promote better understanding and self-management by patients

Who: Kate Burton – Public Health Practitioner

Approach: Promotion

Location: Edinburgh Community Health Partnership

Speciality: Long-term health conditions

What initiative or project are you involved in?

A programme of health literacy and ‘teach back’ to promote better understanding and self-management by patients. Teach back is a technique that improves communication, patient safety, self-management and health literacy.

What prompted the work?

The NHS Healthcare Quality Strategy in Scotland made a commitment to ‘improve resources to support better health literacy’.

‘Teach back’ is a method used by healthcare providers, to confirm they have explained healthcare information in a manner understood by their patients.

Actions to achieve this ambition are system wide and will include ‘improving communication and effective collaboration between patients and staff’.

What difference has the project or initiative made?

Teach back has proved to be a simple but effective way to check, not only a patient’s understanding of their condition, but also to assimilate better the explanation and advice given to them at each interaction with nurses.