Explore our ACCC 2020 Impact Report, the Oncology Issues, Vol.36, N.3, and our video podcast, CANCER BUZZ TV.


Let's Be Clear: Communicating to Improve the Cancer Patient Experience

With this education project, ACCC seeks to help cancer programs across the country to assess and improve their health literacy through the application principles identified through the National Academy of Medicine [formerly, the Institute of Medicine (IOM)] Roundtable on Health Literacy's attributes of health literate healthcare organizations.



Ask Me 3® is a tool that encourages patients to ask three simple questions each time they talk to a care team member. As we all know, communication is a two-way street. This video shows how your responses to patients’ concerns as members of their cancer care team can clearly, empathetically, and appropriately engage them and promote effective communication throughout the care continuum.
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Health Literacy Case Studies Article

For this project, ACCC developed a health literacy gap assessment tool based on the Institute of Medicine (now the National Academy of Medicine) Roundtable on Health Literacy's 10 attributes of a health literate healthcare organization. In "Health Literacy: From Assessment to Action," learn more about the assessment tool, three different approaches to completing the assessment by ACCC member programs, what they learned from the process, and how they intend to apply the results in planning the steps to take their cancer program health literacy to the next level.




Use the gap assessment tool to identify education needs and pinpoint areas in your cancer program where targeted health literacy efforts could improve patient care.
Assess Your Program

After completing the assessment, access the project's Post-Assessment Resources to assist in discussing and planning next steps.

Webinar: Plain & Simple: Strategies for Improving Health Literacy

Gain a deeper understanding of why evaluation of your cancer program's health literacy efforts is important. Identify areas where simple quality improvement measures can lead to more effective communication, and learn about an easy-to-implement gap assessment tool that will help improve health literate communications throughout the cancer care continuum.
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Abstracts & Presentations

More About This Project

As defined in the Affordable Care Act (ACA) health literacy is “the degree to which an individual has the capacity to obtain, communicate, process, and understand basic health information and services to make appropriate health decisions.”

Although many cancer programs have made significant headway in providing patient-friendly materials, health literacy related to cancer diagnosis, treatment, and post-treatment follow-up requires on-going attention. For patients with cancer, poor health literacy may result in facing increased risk of medical errors, chronic disease recurrence that leads to higher hospitalization rates, and sub-optimal health outcomes.

Health literate healthcare organizations can better deliver patient-centered care and meet requirements for certification and reimbursement. With this education project ACCC seeks to help cancer programs across the country to improve their health literate communication throughout the cancer care continuum.

Why Being a Health Literate Organization Matters

The Institute of Medicine (now National Academy of Medicine) Roundtable on Health Literacy has acknowledged 10 attributes of health literate healthcare organizations. While various factors can lead to ineffective health communication, a common factor for many patients is difficulty understanding and interpreting information about their disease when communicating with health professionals. Creating and using resources so that patients better understand basic health information can lead to patients making appropriate health decisions and improved communication with their healthcare team.


To help cancer programs evaluate their current health literacy efforts and prioritize steps for improvement, ACCC developed a health literacy gap assessment tool. This tool is intended to help cancer programs advance their delivery of patient-centered care by integrating key attributes of a health literate healthcare program. By completing the assessment tool, cancer programs can identify educational needs and pinpoint areas where targeted education could improve patient care. For more on how the assessment tool was developed, how to use the tool, and case studies from three ACCC member programs, read "Health Literacy: From Assessment to Action."

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Funding & Support provided by Lilly Oncology