Better Patient Education = Better Outcomes

Better patient education can help improve engagement and compliance because it can help turn extrinsic into intrinsic motivation. When your patients understand the why, they’re more likely to stick with the program. But how much do patients really remember?

The article “Patients’ Memory for Medical Information” by Roy P.C. Kessels, PhD, reviews various studies on patients’ obstacles to remember critical information – and the results are eye-opening.

According to a study by McGuire MC, patients forget 40 to 80% of the information given when they walk out your door. Just as bad, almost half of the information is not remembered correctly. Patients recall even less when they are in a stressful situation such as receiving a diagnosis in a doctor’s office. In this situation, the central message (i.e., the diagnosis) will become the primary subject of attention and thus limit the recall of information regarding treatment options or follow-up appointments.

On the positive side, other studies suggest that written information will be recalled better than verbal instructions alone, which can lead to better treatment adherence. Furthermore, the usage of pictures can increase the recall of medical information from 14% (verbal instructions only) to 80% (verbal instructions combined with pictographs).

What does that mean for you and your patients?

Pictures are more powerful than words: Showing your patient an image or video of their condition while you explain it will send a powerful message to the brain, stimulating their visual AND auditory senses.

Providing your patients with specific information and advice is often perceived as more important and can thus improve patient engagement.

Providing patients with something they can take home or receive electronically will make it easier for them to revisit what they’ve learned from you or to share it with family members.

Making patient education a priority in your practice or clinic will not only help your patients gain a better understanding of their condition, it might also improve care plan adherence.

When providing patients with information, try to find a reliable evidence-based resource that is professionally done and can represent you and your practice or clinic.

How can you use WebExercises for better patient education and engagement?

As described above, the saying “a picture is worth a thousand words” seems to be particularly true in the healthcare world. But is a picture good enough when providing complex explanations? We believe that it’s a first step into the right direction. However, we also believe that your patients deserve great care, not just “good enough” care. That’s why WebExercises complements pictures and detailed written instructions with videos showing the patients exactly what they should do. We are also launching our 3D patient education video series. These short, animated videos will provide the patient with detailed information on their specific condition and the involved structures, as well as common signs and symptoms. You can share the 3D videos as part of your home exercise program.

You can find various patient education and engagement handouts for emails or waiting room material on the resources section of your WebExercises provider portal. We’ve also started to develop a series of 3D condition videos that you can share with your patients along with their home exercise program. See the video above to preview our first example. You can find this video and more in the ‘category’ drop down of your exercise search page. We will add new videos on a monthly basis.


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