Double-sided list of food

One in English, one in French

Language Barrier

How Visual Communication can help in a doctor’s office?

Doctors could improve health education and their communication with patients by adding simple graphics in their handouts.

The other day, one of the seniors at my English Conversation Circle brought to my attention an important point. His doctor gave him a large document with instructions to eat more food containing potassium. One side of this document was in English, the other was in French. The size of the document was 11×17 inches, folded in 3. It was big and scary. The man was worried and klueless.

It was jus a list of food, and the only thing preventing this man from eating food with more potassium was the fact that he could not read the list he was handed.

Now here’s the problem in communication

The standard resources, just like this food list, are being distributed by the care provider to patients with different levels of Language integration.

Those Standard resources are specifically designed for the fully integrated, (people who understand the language) because they usually don’t contain any graphics.

They usually contain just text so people  who don’t always understand the text are not always getting the resources that they require.

Using illustrations can fix the problem

Concider including small pictures in a list of fruits and vegetables or handouts, so a patient can see what those are. A piece of paper is useless if handed to a person who can’t read it. Visual language can easily be incorporated into the existing resources. It would help in eductating patients as well as building better doctor-patient relationships.