Have you ever visited the doctor’s office and noticed the colorful poster on the wall, or left with a pamphlet in your hand? These patient education resources enhance your visit by providing information through more than just the doctor’s conversation and can have a lasting impact on your healthcare journey. Keep reading to learn more about the importance of utilizing patient education resources in your medical practice, and tips on what to consider when putting resources together for your own practice!
- Why Do Patient Education Resources Matter
- Common Examples of Patient Education Resources
- Best Tips for Providing Resources for Patient Education
- Reach Out to the Experts for More Revenue Cycle Management Tips!
Why Do Patient Education Resources Matter
Patient education resources are essential to a well-rounded practice because they help inform and empower the patient. When receiving literature from a trusted provider, the patient can learn more about their diagnosis, condition, treatment plan, and further their own understanding and use this information to do more research, if needed. This can lead to a healthy dialogue between patient and provider, as the patient can ask more informed questions about their health and feel more empowered in their healthcare journey.
Such educational resources also serve a more practical purpose. For example, the more complex a patient’s problems are, the more likely that a couple of handouts can assist them in understanding and managing their conditions. Patient education resources aid with remembering the names and basic awareness of multiple factors, so the patient doesn’t need to worry about overloading their brain with memorizing everything the doctor says.
Common Examples of Patient Education Resources
There are countless methods to deliver patient education! Examples include one-on-one teaching, demonstrations, and analogies or word pictures to explain difficult or complicated concepts. You can also use one or more of the following teaching tools:
- Brochures or other printed materials
- YouTube videos
- Videos or DVDs
- PowerPoint presentations
- Posters or charts
- Models or props
Your dermatology practice might have posters educating about skin conditions such as eczema or psoriasis, for example, or your surgical practice might make a video to explain a common procedure. It’s important to utilize the most appropriate medium of communication so the patient has the greatest chance of learning from your efforts.
Patient education resources can also have direct, tangible use, too! For example, a medication schedule could be provided to a patient who needs to keep track of multiple medications. This schedule should include a place to identify the patient’s pharmacy location and phone number, a list of the patient’s prescription medications with corresponding dosages, and a timetable to track daily intake.
Best Tips for Providing Resources for Patient Education
When compiling your practice’s patient education resources, there are a variety of factors to consider. Start with these tips:
Offer a Wide Variety of Patient Resources
What do you want your patients to know? Certainly, they deserve information on common diagnoses and their causes - however, these resources don’t need to be limited to treatment options and preventive measures. The more your patients understand your providers, practice, and specialty, the better!
Consider creating content that explains the “why” behind your policies and practice history in addition to medically-focused materials. Also, be sure to broaden the channels on which you share content: In addition to putting pamphlets around the office, you should post them on your website or blog - may be even disseminate them through a patient newsletter or social media page. The patient education resources you offer should speak to a number of topics pertinent to your practice and should be presented in many different ways.
Provide Easy-to-Read Content
Medical terminology should be avoided whenever possible; if it can't be avoided, then the terms should be carefully defined. For example, bed wetting should be used rather than enuresis; however, because there is no regular translation for rosacea, a handout on that topic should
explain how to pronounce the word and what the condition involves. Your patient resources should demonstrate consistency in using terminology; analogies, simple punctuation, contractions, and even slang are good if they enhance understanding.
Especially when it comes to physical, take-home resources, such as brochures and pamphlets, you’re simply providing a starting point for understanding; patients will go home and do a lot more research on their own. Be sure to provide the baseline-level knowledge that patients need to feel informed and empowered to learn more.
Aim for the Right Audience
Creating effective content is all about knowing your audience. So obviously, your resources should align with who will be reading them. That’s not just about readability by age or knowledge level, and tone – it’s also about the visuals and presentation.
Make your resources look and feel like things your patients already read. For example, kids at the pediatrician office will respond better to drawings and animation, whereas seniors will appreciate large print. Across all materials and formats, keep your language simple, easy-to-read, and only comprised of must-know information. Ultimately, empowering patients with knowledge will help you earn - and retain - their long-term trust.
Adapt to the Patient’s Learning Style
Not everyone learns the same way, and different learning styles mean your patient education resources should be presented in the manner best suited for the individual patient. This might be obvious in some situations - for example, plain, printed materials wouldn’t work for a patient who is blind - but in most cases, the patient’s learning style might not be as noticeable. This is why it’s important to have resources available in a number of different mediums and technologies, so the patient can work with whichever methods resonate with them.
Provide Options for Take-Home Content
Along the same lines as the medication schedule resource mentioned above, patients can benefit tremendously from take-home content! By providing educational pamphlets, worksheets for them to fill out over a period of time, including links to digital content, and more, patients have more time to process the information given to them. The ultimate goal of your practice’s patient education resources is to empower the patient through knowledge of their healthcare journey, and take-home material is an essential quality of that goal.
Be Sure to Review all Educational Materials
This tip should hopefully be obvious, but it’s worth reiterating: before ordering dozens of brochures or circulating a PowerPoint presentation, be sure to proofread the content carefully. The text and material you present to your patients should be free from typos or grammatical errors, include the spell-checked names of your practice and providers, feature an approachable formatting style, and more. These details help deliver the educational information you intend, rather than distract the patient from the purpose of the resource.
Reach Out to the Experts for More Revenue Cycle Management Tips!
Creating informative and accessible content for your practice takes creativity, time, and other resources - don’t let frustrating and complicated medical billing take these factors away from your practice!
Turn to the experts at NCG Medical for medical billing, revenue cycle management, and more to streamline your practice and optimize your operations. Outsourcing your medical billing can tremendously improve your practice in terms of internal and external efficiency. A medical billing firm can equip your practice with 24/7 reporting via analytics, for example, or can act as an in-house electronic health records (EHR) expert. In doing so, the outsourcing service can help ensure that incentive program adherence doesn’t drag your team’s time away from patients.
With NCG Medical, you’ll gain a team of experts in your corner who can help navigate the worlds of medical billing, healthcare software, and more! Contact us today to learn how we can make your practice more efficient, enable better patient access, and ensure you give the most effective care.