Patient Education

Robert B. Kelly

Chapter contents

Rationale

160

Using Printed Materials

163

Opportunities

161

Writing Your Own

164

Principles of Patient Education

161

Health Literacy

164

Role of Computers

164

A Model of Health Behavior Change

161

Other Materials and Modalities

165

Stages of Change

161

Office Systems and Design

165

When and How to Intervene

162

Planning for Patient Education in Your Practice

163

Who Will Be Involved

163

Using Verbal Instruction

163

• Encouragement of healthy lifestyles by family physicians and acceptance of responsibility for health behaviors by patients are part of a new paradigm of the physician-patient relationship.

• Enhanced patient satisfaction and realistic expectations as a result of education can reduce risk of malpractice actions.

• Use a SOAPE note to document adding education to your plan.

• Match your message to each patient's stage of change.

• Use feedback, reinforcement, individualization, facilitation, and multiple channels when providing education.

• Learn brief techniques of motivational interviewing to be more successful in facilitating behavior change.

Family medicine has long embraced the concept of patient education as an integral part of patient care. It is an official policy of the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) that "family physicians should take a leadership role in improving the health of the American public by providing accurate and meaningful patient education." The AAFP produces guidelines for residency curriculum in patient education; includes patient education materials in its journal, American Family Physician; and sponsors an award-winning resource (FamilyDoctor.org). The Joint Principles of the Patient-Centered Medical Home (2007) include patients' active participation in medical decision-making and the use of information technology to support patient education.

Patient education continues to evolve. Patients who are informed are more likely to be active participants in their care and adhere to treatment (Epstein et al., 2004). Although physicians have technical knowledge about medical conditions and treatments, patients have more knowledge about their own experience, values, and cultural considerations. Effective patient-centered education requires physicians to individualize information according to each specific patient's needs, values, and culture, and consider these when working with patients to make treatment decisions (Falvo, 2004).

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