Patient Education: Overcoming Challenges | blogMD
A doctor providing patient education to a patient in an exam room.
Oct 21

Patient Education: Overcoming Challenges

A well-educated patient is often a well-treated one. Patient-centered care is now the major focus in exam rooms and it places a large importance on patients being educated by providers. Patient education includes educating on the patient’s overall health and should include any conditions, treatments plans, and prescriptions they are currently dealing with or taking. Treatment plans are easier followed if the patient understands the importance of the pieces and parts laid out before them. Providers who place an emphasis on patient education during a visit are more likely to achieve value-based care initiatives and compliance. All of this does not come without challenges, but those can be overcome. Let’s learn more, after we define what patient education truly means.

What is patient education?

Patient education refers to the action of providing information to patients about their overall health and wellness, treatment plans, and possible health outcomes. It also includes any information relevant to their experience as a patient. Outside of informing patients about treatment plans and compliance needs, patient education empowers patients in their own care.

Challenges to Patient Education

While patient education provides many benefits and plenty of ways to deliver it… it still comes with challenges. Those challenges, and ways to overcome them, include the following…

Time Constraints

We often hear that patient face time is already limited in the exam room. Patients already feel like they do not receive adequate time to talk about their chief complaint, let alone extra time for education. Provider’s feel the pressure of time, as well. Each patient visit averages 20 minutes as allotted by most schedules. This does not leave much time to complete an examination, diagnosis, plan treatment, and then fully educate a patient. Providers who are working to find a way to fit this into their schedule may find patient education to be a daunting task. We challenge you educate your patient throughout the exam, diagnosis, and while you are planning a treatment. Remember that an educated patient will be more likely to follow a treatment plan and less likely to be readmitted.

Variety of Patients

Every provider deals with a wide array of patients. Each patient will learn and retain information in a different way which puts a large strain on providers. There isn’t one approach to delivering information that will fit all and it is the providers burden to make the “shoe fit” when it comes to delivering patient education. For providers, this means taking extra time (I know, this doesn’t always work and it’s not always that easy) and evaluating what method works for them. It may take a few visits to communicate with the patient and decide on a delivery method that works for them. After that, the process of delivering efficient and adequate materials should be easier to coordinate..

Readability of Materials

The Literacy Project Foundation produced statistics that showed that the average American has a reading level that is equivalent to that of a 7th or 8th grader. Most of us are reading at the level of a 12 to 14 year old. It should come as no surprise that most patient education material is not written to accommodate that readability level. This creates a significant gap in understanding and leaves many patients in the dark. Providers administering patient education materials should look through materials before providing them to their patient base. Once materials are chosen that will be widely understood, providers should then take the time to go over the chosen documentation with the patient.

Patient education is vital as we take steps towards empowering patients to make critical moves in their own healthcare journeys. How is your practice delivering educational materials to your patient base?

Are you ready to dive into tools that help you deliver patient education at your practice? Contact us today to learn more about VisualDx, Henry Schein Secure Chart, and other tools available at MicroMD. Visit us at micromd.com/marketplace or call us at 800.624.8832.

About the author,
Savanna Adams

Savanna is the Marketing Communication Specialist at Henry Schein MicroMD. She schedules emails to clients, prospects, and VARs, manages social media accounts, performs SEO research, writes blogs and eBooks, and much more while helping to support the simple yet powerful MicroMD solutions.

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