Why should I pledge?
6 out of 10 of people in Australia have low health literacy.
Many Australians have trouble understanding and using information provided by organisations. They also have trouble navigating complicated systems like healthcare services.
When we use jargon, technical terms or acronyms, it is hard for people with low health literacy to understand and use information.
Drop the Jargon Day this year is on 24 October. Pledge and take part in activities at your workplace. Make it easy for people with low health literacy to get better information and outcomes from services they use.
% of people in Australia with low health literacy
How do I drop the jargon?
Use plain language
1. Swap jargon for plain language.
For example: Swap ‘facilitate’ for ‘help’. Here’s a useful resource to help.
2. Use the active voice, identifying who is doing the action.
For example: Change ‘The prescription can be picked up by you at the pharmacy’ to ‘You can pick up the prescription at the pharmacy’.
3. Use ‘you’ and ‘we’ to talk directly to the person you’re speaking to.
The person is ‘you’. The health service or government agency is ‘we’. This will help engage your audiences.
4. Keep your sentences short
5. Avoid clichés
For example: ‘give me a hand’
6. Explain any jargon you need to use.
If there is no plain language alternative, use jargon but explain the term the first time you use it.
7. Avoid abbreviations and acronyms
And if you do use them, explain what they are and spell them out.
More resources here.
Have plain language descriptions of confusing terms at your fingertips
To check if a person understands, ask them to explain or demonstrate what you said. If the person doesn’t explain it correctly or misses vital points, re-teach the information. This isn’t a test of the consumer’s knowledge; it’s a test of how well you’ve communicated.
Try using the teach-back technique
Teach-back is one of the easiest ways to check you’ve succeeded in communicating. It involves:
1. Emphasising that it’s your responsibility to explain things clearly
2. Asking the consumer to explain in their own words the main points from what you’ve said.
Low English proficiency
When you are working with people with limited English proficiency, you should use interpreters and/or translations services.
Sign the pledge
Drop the Jargon 2017Read or edit the petition
Pledge to Drop the Jargon
In taking the pledge, you are accepting the challenge to:
- Use plain language in all communication – with other staff and with clients
- Not use acronyms
- Explain medical and other technical terminology
- Check that information has been understood by your clients
- Work with a professional interpreter when your clients have low English proficiency
- Politely point out when your colleagues use jargon
Drop the Jargon Day started in 2014. Different organisations (see below) interested in clear communication were looking to build on the work they had done at the Centre for Culture, Ethnicity & Health as graduates of the Health Literacy Course.
Better health literacy practice in organisations can dramatically improve health outcomes, particularly in the most marginalised population groups. Knowing this, the passionate organisations below decided to do something to promote good communication with and help organisations reach more people in our community.
Thanks to this enthusiasm, Drop the Jargon has grown over the last three years and reached thousands of dedicated practitioners and organisations.
More information about the Health Literacy course
Health literacy course 2017
Each year, the Centre for Culture, Ethnicity and Health runs a Health Literacy Course.
This course builds the capacity of agencies to respond to health literacy at the level of the client-practitioner interaction, as well as embedding organisation-wide health literacy strategies into systems, operations, planning and workforce development.
This course will provide you strategies and tools to help you embed health literacy strategies in your organisation.
The course has four full-day workshops held every second month, along with small projects between each workshop so that the learning can be implemented within participants’ organisations.
There is also an Executives Forum that brings together course participants and senior executives to plan the way forward for health literacy at all levels of the organisations.
Enrolments open for 2017 in October 2016.
Course enquiries: please contact Jolyon Burford, Training Coordinator at Centre for Culture Ethnicity & Health.
|What jargon term annoys you the most?||Why?|
|'your' clients, my 'clients' etc -||All suggest a position of superiority, ownership, power and control|
|"at this point in time we are moving forward"||inevitably it represents yet another complete revolve in an endless circle, but covers up this up with the sense that there is progress!|
|"I can talk to this"||Do we have to announce we are "talking to" something?! And we aren't talking to it, we are talking to a group of people in the room!|
|Abbreviated places of work (EACH or ADH)||This doesn't exactly tell me where you work or your position ??? I noticed this on your page of "look who else has pledged".|
|Acronyms||I have no idea what organisations people are talking about|
|Agile||Because it's a specific software development term, not just a bloody buzzword to describe being business savvy|
|agile||strongly agree with the entry posted for agile.|
|anti's||not explaining to the patient that we are actually giving them an nti-biotic|
|Any abbreviations||when you are new to an area of work you don't know what all the abbreviations are. when you ask what does that mean ,then sometimes it is explained sometimes the other person may not know or you are given a look like you should know.|
|Are you tolerating food and fluids?||What does "tolerating" mean? Just managing to keep down the minimum? Eating everything in sight? Or somewhere in between?|
|CALD||This acronym for Culturally and Linguistically Diverse is actually shorthand for non-white< non-Anglo. Australia as a whole is a culturally and linguistically diverse community - not the individuals within it. We all have our cultural identity and yes, many of those identities are non-Anglo but they are no more "diverse" than your average white Australian's. Using culturally and linguistically diverse to describe people from non-Anglo backgrounds is a classic example of exclusion - Anglo is normal, non-Anglo is different - and it's too hard to identify each of them, so just group them all together and label them "diverse". The dominant and powerful doesn't need definition; hence web addresses from the USA don't need a .us suffix while the rest of the world needs to be identified with .au, .in, .ca, .uk etc. So in Australia, Anglo is normal and "boring" while the non-Anglos are "diverse", different, exotic, etc. Can go on more but will stop now.|
|CALD||young people think it is cold|
|capacity building||it sounds patronising and mechanical when it's about relationships and sharing knowledge and skills - this goes both ways!|
|Cast my optics over this||What - look at it?|
|client facing||because it seems a bit passive, I would want someone to talk to me not just look at me|
|Complex client||Because it implies that the client is difficult!|
|Consumer||Sounds like the person is buying or eating something. Makes them less human|
|consumer engagement||Firstly, they are people who use services/products etc.. Secondly, are you just doing things because they seem good without any thought?!|
|Cutting edge||It's now very blunt|
|Diabetic||Labels a person for their condition. There is a lot more about a person with diabetes than their diabetes!|
|diverse||mostly used as a code word for 'not white'|
|Doctors 'initiating medicines in patients'||Because the patient is completely disempowered and erased. Doctors prescribe for patients, not in them.|
|EFT||The rest of the world uses FTE and EFT can be misunderstood as electronic funds transfer.|
|empowerment||It assumes a superiority|
|engage audiences||can they say talk to instead|
|Engagement||It's overuse is community work|
|Facilitate||The word means "to make something easier", but it gets used to to mean... many things...very vague|
|frequent flyers||Disrespectful of people's experience and encourages generalising.|
|game changer||Isn't change the norm?!? Weasel term of politicians and "innovators"|
|get on the same page||people don't read books anymore do they?|
|Going forward||Completely redundant - what other option is there? Use the future tense.|
|granular||what's wrong with detail?|
|health literacy||its waht we want everyone to have it - but most of us don't know what it actually means|
|health outcome/s||Good, bad or otherwise, they are all outcomes. Be specific!|
|heuristic||Often see it around but even PhD students do not know what it means.|
|Housing affordabilty||because we should just say houses are too expensive|
|I not not have 'visualization' of xyz||I have not seen xyz.|
|Idiopathic||it seems to be what you say when you don't know anything|
|inclusionary||why not talk about who or what is included / excluded? this and other nouns being made into adjectives and adverbs.|
|join the conversation online||because people use it to describe social media when they want you to just read their stuff|
|Labelling person with their diagnosis||Insulting to narrow some-one to one part of their life|
|Let's talk about this offline||Are we machines that can be turned off and on now?|
|leverage||Verbing a noun. It's just a way to make something sound more impressive. Whatever you're trying to "leverage" can be said more simply.|
|Low-hanging fruit||Why not just say, "the easy way"|
|non compliant||disempowering and degrading|
|Open and transparent||Because it sounds like a window|
|paradigm||It sounds very pretentious|
|paradigm shift||sounds like a type of car transmission|
|Patient||Many people we see aren't 'sick' they live with a chronic illness. The term 'Patient' reinforces the sick role and does not acknowledge them as the unique individuals they are with numerous qualities to help them to manage their condition. Also a lazy way for HCPs to call people to let them distance themselves from the individual.|
|Patient acronyms for health conditions (e.g., PWA for Person with Aphasia)||Reducing people to letters on the basis of their health condition is dehumanising.|
|Person Centred||Not sure. It just reeks of newspeak to me. There's thousands of them, although most of them have some genuine benefit, especially in/inter-house to increase productivity and positive speedier outcomes for clients.|
|Personal Brand||used as a negative to imply you have a deficit. I am aslo not an inanimate object, I am a person not a product.|
|Recovery||become meaningless through over use and misuse. Also contradicts its everyday meaning|
|Reinvent The Wheel||Because it would be nice to go one meeting without hearing it.|
|Skin in the game||donen't really mean anything to me, plus in a health setting isn't the best word to use|
|SLAs, KPIs, ROI,||don't like acronyms|
|Social Determinants of Health||WT* does it mean? Issues that can affect a person's long-term health outcomes.|
|Stakeholders||Too formal a term...confusing.|
|Start Up||implies that everything else is somehow inferior and lacking creativity. Such an overused term its now meaningless.|
|strategic||it feels like an easy way to sound smart|
|Streamlining||Because nobody wants to work in Silos.|
|supports||what is really being provided here?|
|Sustainability||Means totally different things to different people. Financial sustainability? Environmental sustainability? Sustained interest in doing something? Etc|
|Synergy||How about using "working together" instead?|
|system agnostic||Say what? Don't you mean, no wait, what do you mean?|
|take it offline||because it can mean ''in private" or "not on the internet" confusing|
|test||Because it infers that someone can pass or fail when really it is a "check" to assess health status. It removes the judgement|
|The attached list||shows a lack of understanding and incorrect assessment of the terms|
|Thinking outside the box||Can't we just say, "a different way to think about this..."?|
|Thought leader||Is there any other kind of leader? A dream leader? A thoughtless leader? Can you lead without challenging people’s thoughts? Ie it’s superfluous to have ‘thought’ in front of ‘leader’|
|underpinned by ...||the mere image of pins under a strategy drives me mad.|
|undertake||Can't we just do stuff - and leave the undertaking to undertakers?|
|we haven't articulated the (....) as yet||so, you haven't said (... ) yet?|
|Working families||Generally only the adults work|
|Working in 'Silos'||Because it's important to streamline processes.|