California Oral Health Literacy Toolkit Helps Dentists Implement OHL During Patient Visits
The California Oral Health Literacy Toolkit is a new digital resource to help oral health care providers learn or review the basics of oral health literacy, including the importance of communicating clearly and with cultural humility and creating a welcoming environment for patients.
Two years of substantive studies, conducted by the UC Berkeley Center for Health Research for Action in conjunction with the California Office of Oral Health, informed the development of the toolkit. The studies included a review of the literature, an analysis of health literacy training resources for dental professionals, and interviews with oral health literacy experts and dental providers in California. Various dental providers have tested and recommended changes to several iterations of the toolkit.
“Improving oral health literacy is a recommended strategy in the California Oral Health Plan,” said state dental director Jayanth Kumar, DDS, MPH, of the launch of the toolbox. “We know that more effective communication improves patient health and we are delighted to provide this comprehensive toolkit to members of the dental team. “
The toolkit, which will be featured in the September issue of the Journal of the California Dental Association, includes:
- Oral Health Literacy in Practice: This guide reviews the fundamentals of OHL and suggests ways to implement OHL at every point of contact in patient visits.
- Practice Assessment Checklist: Practices can use this checklist to easily assess OHL practice readiness.
- What is feedback learning: This quick reference provides example-based learning and shows how to use feedback learning with patients.
- Health Literacy Action Plan: Dental teams can use this worksheet to record health literacy goals and identify steps to achieve them.
- Going to the Dentist: This brochure uses clear communication to guide patients “before, during and after” dental visits.
Providers can access the toolkit now on the Oral Health Technical Assistance Center website.
The toolkit is complemented by training for dental providers and community members. The next training, “Oral Health Literacy: Achieving Patient Behavior Through Effective Communication,” will take place on September 11 at CDA Presents The Art and Science of Dentistry.