Apply the UPL

Principle 1: 
Enable Patient Learning

Read More It is our responsibility to communicate to patients to help them better navigate their healthcare journey. Our responsibility includes explaining the medical concepts...

It is our responsibility to communicate to patients to help them better navigate their healthcare journey. Our responsibility includes explaining the medical concepts patients need in order to understand their disease state and their treatment options. Not every patient needs or wants the same information; therefore, we should provide a wide array of high-quality, holistic educational materials that genuinely seek to inform patients about their illness and its implications.

We believe that when we enable patient learning, we empower patients to improve their own healthcare experience and we support them in achieving their clinical outcomes.

Tool: UPL Rules

The UPL Rules provide detailed guidance on how each of the Principles can be applied in practice. We think the UPL Rules are the best way to get a good understanding of how to put the UPL into practice.

Below is a sample of rules pertaining to Enable Patient Learning:

Rule 1. Treat every communication as an opportunity to teach patients new concepts that will help them navigate their healthcare journey.

  • a. Define or translate common medical terminology and jargon in patient- friendly terms — easy to understand, but not oversimplified.
  • b. Provide the background that patients need to understand their overall medical situation.

Rule 4. Keep your content relevant to the patient 

  • a. Adults are primarily motivated to learn things that are relevant to them and their experience, so keep your communication focused on topics that are useful and practical for patients.
  • b. Be explicit about how your communication can help patients achieve goals related to their healthcare journey.
  • c. Use authentic and relatable patient stories to help patients understand important concepts. Include both the positive and negative sides to a story.

Rule 8. Present complex information in digestible chunks to help patients build up their knowledge incrementally.

  • a. Start by presenting the basics of the topic. Build the knowledge in subsequent sections, allowing patients to delve into the information at their own pace.
  • b. Provide patients the opportunity to dive deeper into a specific topic by怀including “learn more” buttons or references.

Download the complete set of UPL Rules:

Ready But Limited

This tool still has areas for improvement, and more resources will be added over time.

Tool: UPL Style Guide

The Style Guide offers detailed guidance on how patient materials created with UPL should look and feel. It provides specific guidance on how to enable patient learning.

Style Guide topic examples related to Enable Patient Learning include:


Writing can be one of the clearest ways in which knowledge is shared, but the words and phrases need to be selected and constructed with care.

In this section you will find guidance on writing to communicate with patients as clearly and simply as possible, in a way that validates their experiences and inspires continued learning and education.


Download the complete
UPL Style Guide:

Primed & Polished

This tool has been validated extensively, and significant changes will be infrequent.

Tool: Thought Starters

The Thought Starters outline key challenges and learnings collected from dozens of interactions with patients, caregivers, healthcare providers, and other experts. They are a good starting point if you want to explain a specific complex topic to patients.

What you will find in the downloads:

Thought Starters

In the Thought Starters, you will find our learnings that may help you explain biological processes, data, clinical trials, health-related finances, and risks and benefits.

Download all of the
Thought Starters:

Case Study Highlight

Helping Patients Understand Clinical Trial Results

In this case study, we illustrate the Enable Patient Learning principle by using a levelled learning approach. The resource and key concepts about clinical trials are divided into four levels. Each level is a complete story, so the reader can start at whichever level is desired.

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