Style Matters in Written Instructions

Want to make it easier for your patients to follow that diet, prep correctly for a procedure, or view and download their health information (a meaningful use measure)?

Well-written instructions and attractive brochures are one thing, but a couple of studies show that using easy-to-read fonts also helps - because people equate easy to read with easy to do.

Communication blogger Roger Dooley summarizes the studies in recent two blog posts. In one study, people perceived a diet and a recipe presented in a simple font as less time-consuming, making the people more willing to try them. In another study, font simplicity influenced how pregnant women perceived the complexity of medical instructions.

Mr. Dooley notes these results would apply to marketing materials as well.

Generally, nonserif fonts like Arial or Verdana are easier to read online, while serif fonts like Times New Roman are easier to read in print. Serifs are the short lines at ends of the long parts of some letters.

TMA Can Help

TMA has lots of resources to help you better communicate with patients, including a bibliography and continuing medical education.

Published April 9, 2015

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Last Updated On

June 23, 2016