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Why Patient Education is Ineffective

Most healthcare professionals will agree that the level of patient education given to their patients is substandard. Most will also agree that simple changes to the current way it is done would yield huge results. However, the healthcare industry is reticent to change.

The main reasons the current patient education system is ineffective are:

1. The materials are outdated. In many cases, the brochures and handouts that the offices use are outdated both in content and appeal. The brochures are typically printed in bulk and used until completed- whether that takes 6 months or six years.

2. The methods are not in tune with how people learn. The world has changed from people being “reading” learners to being “audio visual” learners. But most of the patient education are pamphlets, brochures, power points, and other written instructions. People cannot understand them and get bored/confused reading them.

3. The timing that they are presented is terrible. Most patient education occurs after bad news happens, right before/after an event or when a person is waiting for their discharge. These times are terrible for retention because people are distracted, overwhelmed, nervous, agitated, exhausted and otherwise anxious.

4. Confirmation of comprehension is rushed. The educator, whether it is a nurse, doctor, or other staff, rushes through the education and asks questions geared towards the patient agreeing that they understand the materials. Most people need to review information three to five times before retention.

5. There is little follow up. After a person is educated, they are left on their own to figure it out. Very rarely does someone call a newly on insulin diabetic and ask if they are using the glucometer properly or if a person is taking their heart medication on schedule. When you give someone a new task, you need to follow up.

Thankfully, there are a bunch of companies like Halo Health International that are popping up that are patient education experts. They help your health system or practice integrate patient education into every facet of your business including in crucial downtimes for patients when they are waiting for their appointment in the waiting room or exam room, when they are in patients at a hospital or facility, and ongoing education when they are at home.

The cost of these programs is surprisingly affordable, especially when you look at the costs of readmissions, non-compliance, and patient error. Contact Halo Health at 856-520-8655 or to learn more.

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