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Importance of Patient Education in the hospital setting.

Importance of Patient Education in the hospital setting

“Each patient carries his or her own doctor inside him or her. They come to us not knowing that truth. We are
at our best when we give the doctor who resides within each patient a chance to go to work.”
–Albert Schweitzer, Nobel Prize Winner

In today’s era, when a plethora of information is at your fingertips thanks to the internet, there is an even greater risk of is information when it comes to healthcare education. Inquisitiveness and curiosity are baser instincts, when coupled with uncertainty, such feelings can quickly take a negative turn. Which may often happen during a healthcare procedure. There is research that proves that the level of compliance from patients’ side strongly affects the outcome of a clinical procedure. It is essential that a patient does not consume misinformation during the procedure. Therefore, patient education is an essential requirement, more so than ever.

Why is patient education important?

Patient education may include anything from information about conditions, their treatments, or generic self-healthcare knowledge post-procedures.

Tackling the issue of economics.

In current times with rising healthcare costs and even high projections for the foreseeable future, a patient-centric care is the only efficient way to move forward. Research shows that there is a huge potential for improved health outcomes through patient education and self-management programs. Increased amount of health literacy can help create proper feedback mechanism between a doctor and patient. It will also help set-in place key points for prevention.

Integrating patients as partners in their healthcare process.

Proper patient education’s primary goal is to helps patients make more informed decisions during unsupervised situations. A physician may keep an eye on patients from few minutes to few hours during the day. The rest of the time patients spend with themselves. It is essential that during such situations a patient is making more informed choices. With better information, patients are more likely to understand different treatment options, make agreeable preferences and have the highest
level of satisfaction during and after a procedure.

Help prevent misinformation.

Almost everyone in today’s time has the capability to research their symptoms on the internet. However, it is of note that a doctor spends years studying a plethora of books and garnering hours of experience before laying diagnosis. Without proper health literacy, patients are susceptible to incomplete information from the internet. Often resulting in fear and impatience. These elements can have a negative impact on patient responsiveness.

Higher adherence to the treatment plan

With proper health literacy, a patient will have higher confidence both in the doctor and the treatment plan. This will reduce prescription abandonment as well as reduce the liability for the healthcare provider. A more compliant patient is going to be more responsive during his process which improves the quality of diagnosis and treatment. Research indicates that high compliance is
associated with better clinical results.

How to effectively provide patient education?

To effectively provide patient education many things need to be considered. There is a great amount of diversity involved among patients. Some patients may have a different literary background, some may have visual or hearing disability. The level of mental trauma a patient may have also affects how much information they can absorb. Too much information may cause fear while too little may cause anxiety. All these factors need to be considered while preparing for a patient education plan.

Considering simple questions can be extremely helpful.

• What level of education does the patient have?
• What languages do they speak?
• How well does the patient see or hear?
• What can be the best teaching method?
• To what extent can patients follow directions for medication, procedures and
• To what extent does the patient expect information?
• What is their mental state? Are they overconfident, negligent or anxious?
• What is the best teaching method? Reading, Viewing or demonstration.

Best methods to provide patient education?

It is clear that providing quality patient education is essential. It is also important to make sure that the patient education material is comprehensible. How much information can be shared is a topic of debate between practitioners. Here are some methods which should be utilized to provide patient education effectively: –

Making use of technical tools at hand.

As the saying goes, “no body reads the fine print.” When it comes to remembering information, printed materials such as charts, pamphlets and images are much harder to consume and absorb than audio-video information. In our times, making animations, and guided videos is extremely easy. Providing these videos at information desks, waiting areas at hospitals or cell phone apps with patient portals can be much more nourishing.

Encouraging feedback and questions from patients.

Learning is a continuous process, and better communication between the healthcare practitioner and patient is the key to having stronger attention and retention. It is essential to take feedback to correctly customize your health education material.

Utilizing social media

Social media channels are a great way to impart information. Another huge benefit of social media can come from creating moderated groups of illness or gender-specific patients. It helps create a psychologically safe space to share. The right level of exposure can both increase health literacy and create patient empowerment.

–Dev Vasu Dwivedi
EDHEC Business School
LILLE, France

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