The following is the chosen piece to be assessed in this assignment:
“One of the most dangerous mistakes that can be done by the patient is to take medicine contrary to the prescription. This not only compromises the recovery process, but it also jeopardizes the life of the concerned patient. It is important for every patient to put into consideration the instructions given by a physician during prescription, so as to enhance the recovery process.”
This piece of information stresses on the importance of taking medicine in the right way and procedure. It is targeted to the general audience at large, in respect of drugs given or bought under the direction of a health officer.
If assessed in light of the formatting checklist, this piece of information does not meet all the requirements of easy-to-read materials, due to various reasons discussed hereafter. On the general content, the piece of information complies with the rule of limiting content to one or two key objectives. This piece of paper has one key objective, and that is stressing on the importance of taking medicine according to doctors’ prescription. Additionally, the content of this piece of paper is limited to only those that patients need to know. Each sentence comes out as important to a patient under prescription.
On text construction, some words in this piece of information fail to meet the one or two-syllable rule. For instance, words such as ‘consideration’ and ‘prescription’ are made up of three syllables. Paragraph wise, the piece is made up of a short and simple paragraph, a factor that makes it encouraging and easy to read, due to the four sentences only. Another instance where this piece of information fails is when it comes to the use of only active voice, as indicated by the use of ‘by’ Almost the entire information paragraph is constructed in the passive voice, a factor that can make it challenging to understand.
On the font types and size used, this piece fails terribly. As much as size 12 is permitted as the minimum font size that can be used, it is not highly encouraged. This is because some people might find it difficult to read while others might struggle due to visual problems. It is quite small. As it can be blankly seen, this information paragraph is made up of two different font types, a factor that is not highly encouraged for easy-to-read materials. However, the paragraph has incorporated the use of both upper and lower cases appropriately. For easy-to-read pieces of information, it is required for a good amount of space to be left between words and sentences. Considering the chosen piece of information, the amount of space left between words and sentences is not good enough.
Finally, this piece of information would have been perfectly structured if the information were to be given in bullet or point form. To some people, it is tiring to have to read through long sentences looking for information (A. Foundation). The other aspect that is lacking in this piece of information is an aspect of illustration. It would have been better for a packet or bottle of medicine to have been included, showing what is meant by prescription, since some of them usually have them on the package materials.
Based on the criteria that it does not meet, this health material can be improved in a few simple ways. For instance, the three-syllable words can be replaced with simple one or two-syllable words, so as to make them easy to read and understand. More so, the font size can be raised to fourteen and double spaced. Also, prudence would require a format and structure of the piece of information be converted to active voice, for a better understanding (Weech). Finally, the paragraph can be restructured to appear in point form, accompanied by an image of a medicine packet with prescriptions written on the surface of the same.
Of great importance to change would be the readability of the sentences. For example, the sentence ‘This not only compromises the recovery process, but it also jeopardizes the life of the concerned patient’ is written in 7th-grade level. This can be corrected by re-writing the same in 5th-grade level for easier understanding as follows; ‘This not only interferes with the recovery process, but it also threatens the patient’s life.’
In order to assess how people in the general public would react to a piece of information, I approached a neighbor, apparently a high-school dropout, to see how he understands the material. To my surprise, he could not explain what he had understood from the piece of information, due to the presence of the words ‘prescription’ and ‘jeopardize’. This, therefore, means that the two terms, which, in fact, carried the whole weight of the piece of information, could not be understood by him. From this, my suggestion would be to do away with such big words and replace them with simple words of the same meaning (Foundation).
Foundation, AMA. Health Literacy and Patient Safety: Help Patients Understand. Nd Nd Nd. 6 November 2014 <http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cGtTZ_vxjyA>.
Foundation, National Patient Safety. National Patient Safety Foundation. Nd Nd 2014. 6 November 2014 <http://www.npsf.org/?page=askme3>.
Weech, Robert. Racial/Ethnic and Language Differences in Patient Assessments of Health Care: Final Report. Nd Nd Nd. 6 November 2014 <http://fcmu.phhp.ufl.edu/publications/reports/pdf/MED054%20Deliverable%205%204.pdf>.