Educating patients is one of the crucial aspects of daily work in healthcare facilities, and it can often pose a significant challenge for healthcare professionals. Building health awareness among patients brings numerous benefits to the facility's staff and the patients. How can we educate patients effectively, and how can new technologies assist in this process? Let's explore.
First and foremost, it is important to acknowledge that building health awareness can not only improve the quality of medical services, leading to a perception of the facility as more professional and prestigious, but also help avoid missed appointments due to patients' poor preparation for specific diagnostic tests recommended during treatment.
Patient educational materials and their preparation encompass a broad topic. They can include various content, ranging from tips on how to prepare for a medical examination to guidelines for managing illnesses, or even instructions for first aid.
Remember to develop those materials adequately, and to tailor their format, tone and content to the intended audience, aiming to provide assistance. The choice of educational method should always be based on specific goals the healthcare facility aims to achieve.
Five proven methods of patient education
Below, we have gathered several most popular methods of patient education. We encourage you to try them out, as one of these suggestions may prove to be ideal for your daily work. Remember that you can freely modify and adapt each of them to the needs and goals of your facility.
Verbal education is the simplest and most commonly used form of education. You may already utilize it in your facility, even if you do so instinctively, without much consideration. Doctors, nurses, or other knowledgeable and authorized staff provide patients with relevant information, such as how to maintain proper oral health.
Verbal communication can be complemented by pre-prepared educational materials. In the flood of information, patients may not always remember all the essential recommendations, and the abundance of materials available on the Internet (often conflicting with scientific knowledge in a given field) can create additional confusion. Materials such as guides, brochures, or instructional videos can be valuable in this regard.
Education of close surroundings
In many cases, educating the patient alone is insufficient. For challenging diseases and specialized therapies, it is important to ensure that patients receive adequate support from their immediate surroundings, such as family or friends. Therefore, it is beneficial to create educational materials for the patient's close circle, raising their awareness about the disease, ongoing treatment, and potential ways to get involved in the process.
Ensure that your medical facility's social media profiles are regularly maintained and engage the audience. Incorporate educational posts into your content strategy. Including educational aspects in your social media marketing strategy can increase patients' awareness about the specific field of your facility, familiarize them with the services offered, and acquaint them with common symptoms of various diseases.
The rapid development of civilization necessitates the use of modern teaching methods and resources by healthcare facilities (and other entities). However, it is worth embracing technology and leveraging its capabilities. An example of utilizing technology for patient education is regularly maintaining a blog on the facility's website, similar to what iMed24 Medical Center, a part of CG Comarch S.A., does in Poland. Another good idea is to provide essential guidelines in the form of downloadable documents before a medical appointment.