Over the past century and particularly over the last few decades, there has been a massive shift in the way in which patients interact with doctors. The old model of ‘doctor knows best’ where patients were given very little information about their conditions or about their treatments has in recent times been put aside and more of ‘person-centred care’ is now being practised. Nowadays, the patient not only has knowledge themselves about their medical condition but also makes sure that the practitioner is treating them with the desired procedure. Hence, in order to educate them about their conditions, doctors prefer to involve their patients through offline media like patient leaflets which contain required information about many common diseases along with their desired procedures as a whole.
Patient leaflets or PILs serve several purposes, some are found in medication boxes and inform patients about the drugs they are taking, others are made by health providers and inform about conditions, treatments and procedures so that patients are better informed about their own health. Others are more for the general public and give information about maintaining good health, screening programs or vaccinations. Leaflets are designed for hospitals in order to educate patients and help them be more active in making decisions about their treatment.
What are the Benefits of Patient Leaflets?
It is not always possible for a doctor to sit down with the patient and fully explain what they are going through, and one of the main factors is that the amount of information doctors was providing was not sufficient enough for the patients. Therefore, the use of patient leaflets allows increased knowledge for the patients even when the doctor does not have time to talk for extended periods, which increases the patient’s satisfaction.
With the information patients gain from a leaflet, a patient can understand their diagnosis, treatment and/ or prognosis with much more clarity and can make informed decisions. It also helps patients to give their consent with more certainty and more ethically.
On average, a doctor gives a very short slot of time for discussion, examination and management and even if the doctor does manage to convey all of the information to the patient, it is unlikely that the patient will fully take it all in at that time. This is especially true if the patient has just been given difficult or upsetting news, as they may go in shock and stop listening to the doctor. Giving a patient leaflet means that the patient can read the information in their own time and assimilate it.