Plain language communication as a priority competency for medical professionals in a globalized world


  • Fiona Warde Princess Margaret Cancer Centre
  • Janet Papadakos Princess Margaret Cancer Centre
  • Tina Papadakos Princess Margaret Cancer Centre
  • Danielle Rodin Princess Margaret Cancer Centre
  • Mohammad Salhia University Health Network
  • Meredith Giuliani Princess Margaret Cancer Centre



patient education, plain language, globalization, health literacy, english proficiency, education, medical education, training, competency


This brief report aims to highlight the impact of globalization – the international movement of goods, people, and ideas – on patient-provider communication in medical training and practice, and how the implementation of plain language communication training as a core competency for care providers can mitigate this impact. Globalization influences both patient and provider population diversity, which presents challenges with regard to patient-provider communication, particularly in cases of limited health literacy. Plain language communication - the delivery of information in a simple, succinct, and accurate manner - can help address these challenges. Training in plain language communication, however, is not a part of standard education for health care providers. Based on a synthesis of relevant literature pertaining to globalization, plain language communication, and medical education curricula, it is hoped that the information presented establishes the need for plain language communication as a core competency in medical education to enable providers to better meet the needs of an increasingly globalized health system.


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How to Cite

Warde F, Papadakos J, Papadakos T, Rodin D, Salhia M, Giuliani M. Plain language communication as a priority competency for medical professionals in a globalized world. Can. Med. Ed. J [Internet]. 2018 Jun. 1 [cited 2024 Jun. 20];9(2):e52-59. Available from:



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