Introduction: Limited health literacy results in poorer health outcomes, however, effective communication can
facilitate understanding. Communication skills programs could incorporate strategies to address communication gaps
caused by poor health literacy.
Objectives: 1) to describe the effects of a pilot educational intervention on providers' knowledge and reported use of
health literacy strategies; 2) to describe participants' reasons to participate and their opinions regarding the educational
intervention's delivery and content.
Methodology: We conducted a quasi-experimental study design with a questionnaire before, immediately after, one and
three months after the intervention. Semi-structured interviews conducted one year after the intervention explored
participants' opinions and experiences with the intervention and strategies.
Results: Of 329 physicians invited, only 13 (3.9%) participated. Participants' mean knowledge score increased from
59.2% to 80% (p<0.001) but was lower at three months (63.3, p<0.005). Reported awareness of health literacy issues
increased from 23.1% to 92.3% (p<0.001) and remained high at three months. Using simple language, limiting amount of
information and checking for understanding were strategies reportedly still used at three months. Information presented
was new for participants and increased their awareness of communication problems. Health literacy strategies were
reportedly simple to use.
Conclusions: Our program increased participants' awareness of health literacy issues and self-reported use of health
literacy strategies for communication up to three months after the intervention. Future research areas should include
replication with a larger sample size, objective measurement of strategies utilized by providers, and measuring patients'
opinions about these strategies.