Patient education is about teaching patients about their health and treatment. This helps them to better understand their condition and situation and involves and engages them in their care and treatment plans.Educating patients can be done in different environments – medical and non-medical. And in both formal and informal ways.However, it doesn’t go so smoothly. The healthcare industry spends around $70 billion per year in unnecessary hospital stays & physician appointments because patients don’t understand what is being explained to them. According to statistics, patients remember 10% of what they read, 25% of what they hear, 45% of what they see. 75% of patients cite their doctor’s direction as the most important source of information and guidance.
The overall goal of patient education is to improve each patient’s health as well as the performance of the overall healthcare industry.These are of course two very valuable benefits of patient education. But there is so much more to gain from educating your patients.
In order to make the doctor-patient communication better, patient education needs to be significantly improved. So, here are some first-hand benefits of patient education to consider:
Higher Level of Patient Understanding
Patient education focuses on teaching patients and feeding them valuable information. It ensures patients are well-informed about their own health and medical situation. Talk to them about the diagnosis and how it was made. Discuss possible treatment options and help them to prevent the condition from getting worse. Information is power for patients, too. A high level of understanding takes away stress and anxiety and builds trust between patient and caregiver. And most importantly, patient education and increased understanding helps patients make informed healthcare decisions.
Active Patient Involvement
Proper information and education makes patients a member of their care team, which makes them accountable too. An educated patient may often be able to take over some parts of their care and recovery. Think about simple exercises, dietary changes and even full lifestyle changes. Of course there will always be large parts of care that need to be performed by a professional caregiver. But there are definitely smaller elements that could be self-managed by the patient.
Better Health Outcomes
Patient education helps make patients fully aware of their condition, the risks and the ways to get healthier. This offers a motivation and helps them see the goals they need to work towards, to improve their health. An educated patient generally feels more responsible and more motivated to put in the effort. Just think about it, would you ever try to work on an issue you don’t know exists? Of course not. Patient education is not just about making patients feel better. It is about making them aware of the situation. And motivating them to move forward and actively take part in their treatment and care plan alongside their care team. In the end, the right motivation will improve a patient’s general health more quickly and efficiently.
There are many things that can be done to improve patient education and aforementioned are the most important ones. An educated patient is a happy patient!