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Health literacy and patients' understanding

BMJ 2003; 326 doi: (Published 12 June 2003) Cite this as: BMJ 2003;326:1339
  1. Alex Vass (, assistant medical editor1
  1. 1 BMJ Unified

    A recent news story published here in the BMJ reported the results of a study into the use of medical jargon in consultations (24 May, p1105). Surprisingly, researchers found that the patients in the study preferred medical terminology to lay language when it came to being given their diagnoses.

    Despite these findings most health professionals are aware of the need to use lay language to improve communication in consultations. The problem is that many doctors still do not recognise when they are using “medical speak.”

    Search the web for sites on how doctors …

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