Improve your patient education to:
- increase patient understanding;
- build patient trust and reduce anxiety;
- save time and increase patient compliance; and
- minimize your risk of malpractice lawsuits.
Steps for Effective Patient Education
Language- and culture-specific patient communication
It is important to address language differences in your practice. Even if your patients speak English, they may not read it well. Patients who are not comfortable with English may be less likely to read materials that have new or complex medical terminology, even if they are important. It may be more effective to provide patient education in your patient’s primary language.
Ask specific questions to determine language preferences, including:
- Do you get your information from English news sources or non-English news sources?
- Do you "think" in English?
- When you read or hear something in English, do you understand it in English, or do you translate it in your mind into another language?
Meeting your patients' needs will help improve their understanding about their conditions and reduce the potential for adverse or unexpected results.
The quality of the patient-doctor interaction has a significant impact on the ability of patients to explain their symptoms and concerns and to comply with recommended treatment. It also impacts the patients feelings and perceptions about being respected. Understanding cultural differences is vitally important in the doctor/patient relationship and is critical to improving patient education, communication and compliance.
The Providers Guide to Quality and Culture offers discussion of patient-provider interaction, health disparities, cultural groups, culturally competent organizations, and resources.