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Vital Brito, D & Alexandrino da Silva, A. (2018). Visual communication in health promotion – A new approach to health literacy. International Conference on Communication in Healthcare.
Exportar Referência (IEEE)
D. V. Brito and A. A. Silva,  "Visual communication in health promotion – A new approach to health literacy", in Int. Conf. on Communication in Healthcare, Porto, 2018
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	author = "Vital Brito, D and Alexandrino da Silva, A.",
	title = "Visual communication in health promotion – A new approach to health literacy",
	year = "2018",
	url = ""
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TI  - Visual communication in health promotion – A new approach to health literacy
T2  - International Conference on Communication in Healthcare
AU  - Vital Brito, D
AU  - Alexandrino da Silva, A.
PY  - 2018
CY  - Porto
UR  -
AB  - Background: Health literacy is often mentioned as a crucial determinant for population health 
promotion. There are three main strategies to promote health literacy: verbal communication, 
written communication and visual aids. While verbal and written communication are well 
covered and validated, the use of visual aids in health is still an investigation gap in most 
countries, apart from its importance in simplifying medical information and facilitating 
knowledge transfer to patients. This strategy may require some adjustment but it is possible to 
apply it both in countries without technological equipment (focusing in healthcare facilities and 
printed materials) and countries with a well-developed information technology (IT) network 
(focusing in healthcare facilities, mobile and online communities), regardless from patients’ 
Methods: Medical information can be translated into more appealing formats, increasing people 
focus and memorization: pictures, infographics, schemes, comics and videos. Numerical 
information is also convertible to easily understanding materials. 
Findings: A recent study estimated a 73% prevalence of limited health literacy in the 
Portuguese population, using the newest vital sign for the assessment of literacy in primary 
care. There is no detailed data related with the use of healthcare visual communication in 
Portugal, but various studies in Europe and America with specific population groups (mainly 
elderly, pregnant women and children) found a positive impact on the use of visual aids in 
overcoming medical information barriers, promoting patients’ understanding and knowledge 
transference (e.g. Marie Neurath’s malaria communication materials are a simple but effective 
example of this approach to medical communication). 
Discussion: Health policies and healthcare workers should guarantee that patients understand 
their health status, diseases and treatments. Information design is described as “the art and 
science of translating complex, unstructured data into useful information that can be used with 
efficiency and effectiveness” and it is a new tool that can be widely used in health promotion. 
Therefore, a broader approach to health is essential, including a communication and 
visualization perspective with a common objective: address patients’ barriers to medical 
information and provide more appealing and understandable educational materials, using visual 
aids as main drivers. 
ER  -