Plain language means just that: speaking in language that is clear and easy to understand. This can be hard in healthcare where medical terminology and acronyms prevail. Fortunately, there is a concerted effort to help healthcare professionals incorporate plain language into their daily practice in both oral and written communication. These resources can help.
Federal Plain Language Law & Healthcare
The President of the United States signed into law the Plain Writing Act of 2010 (H.R. 946/Public Law 111-274) on October 13, 2010. The law requires that all federal agencies, e.g. National Institutes of Health, Centers for Disease Control, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, use "clear Government communication that the public can understand and use."
The following websites explain and promote plain language communication:
by Seth Ginsberg. June 11, 2017. MEDPAGETODAY.
This brief online post clearly articulates how a simple directive given by a healthcare provider may be misunderstood by the patient with possibly catastrophic results.
The Plain Language Medical Dictionary is a project of the University of Michigan Taubman Health Sciences Library as part of the Michigan Health Literacy Awareness project. Simply put in your medical word and the dictionary will find plain language substitutes.
This Plain Language Thesaurus was created by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Health Marketing. The Thesaurus offers plain language equivalents to medical terms, phrases, and references often used by healthcare providers. Using plain language equivalents may help your patients better understand important health or medical communication.