Practice Support Update Blog

Do Your Patients Really Understand?

Dec 8, 2021 3:00:00 PM / by Leslie D McDowell, DNP, ANP-BC, RN

A recent study of 87 primary care encounters found that providers used at least 1 type of medical jargon without explaining it to patients in nearly 80% of appointments, with an average of more than 4 uses of jargon per visit. Fewer than half of the terms were explained, and overall, providers used a jargon term about once every 4 minutes!

X2k5tprICLTuNDzy-stock_image

 

Fully understanding your explanation and instructions is vital to good patient outcomes, providers often overestimate what their patients grasp. 

What can you do? Try simple Teach-Back.

Here's one pediatrician's experience:

 

Practice Experiences
"I decided to do teach-back on five patients. With one mother and her child, I concluded the visit by saying 'so tell me what you are going to do when you get home.'...She could not tell me what instructions I had just given her. I explained the instructions again and then she was able to teach them back to me… I had no idea she did not understand… I was so wrapped up in delivering the message that I did not realize it wasn't being received".


The teach-back and show-me methods are valuable tools for everyone to use with each patient and for all clinic staff to use. These methods can help you:

  • Improve patient understanding and adherence.
  • Decrease call backs and cancelled appointments.
  • Improve patient satisfaction and outcomes.


Interested in learning even more? Check out Health Literacy Universal Precautions from AHRQ!

 

 

Tags: Primary Care, communication, patient care, health literacy, outcomes

    Practice Support Services

    Health care practices in North Carolina face many challenges. Our team of quality improvement coaches (QICs) have skills and expertise to support you in your transformation efforts.

    To learn more about Practice Support Click Here

    Apply for practice support services - fill out an application here

    Subscribe to Blog Updates

    Additional Resources:
    Tip Sheets
    Lib Guides
    Interactive Resource Guides
    Digital Library
    New call-to-action
    Join email list

    Connect With Us:

    Posts by Topic

    See all

    In Case You Missed It... Check Out These Recent Posts