Health Literacy Consulting Tip
December 2014

Assess Success and Plan What’s Next

You work hard to make a health literacy difference. Whether implementing a new initiative or revising an on-going program, plan now how to later assess success. Doing so not only can help focus your efforts but also demonstrate a commitment to moving forward in a serious, objective, and sustainable way.

Here are some how-to suggestions:

  • Identify specific goals at the start of each project. For instance, if you are writing a plain language fact sheet about health insurance, your goal might be to clearly define 100% of all techincal terms (such as “insurance deductible.”) Or if planning a public health education program, your goal might be to include representatives from x community agencies on the program committee.
  • Keep checking your list of goals. While working on this project, periodically review the initial goals to make sure you are staying true to its initial intent. But allow some flexibility to adapt as needed along the way. When updating the fact sheet, maybe you found out that your audience already knows a lot about insurance so you only need to define terms that are new for this year.
  • Measure effectiveness at the end of your project. Now is the time to more formally assess success. Here are some questions to consider: Did you accomplish all the initial goals? If not, what percentage did you achieve? Why did this happen? What could you or others do differently or better next time? For instance, if only 2 agencies sent representatives to the program committee, what would be a more convenient meeting time or location next year?
  • Build on what you learn. By looking back at initial goals, you have a great basis for planning the successful next project. Repeat this cycle in all your work. Then share what you learned so that, together, we can continue our progress toward health literacy success.

More ways to learn:

For permission to include Health Literacy Consulting Tips in your organization's newsletter, please contact Helen Osborne by e-mail at:, or by phone at: 508-653-1199.