Compassionate care: Enhancing physician-patient communication and education in dermatology Part II: Patient education
Patient education is a fundamental part of caring for patients. A practice gap exists, where patients want more information, while health care providers are limited by time constraints or difficulty helping patients understand or remember. To provide patient-centered care, it is important to assess the needs and goals, health beliefs, and health literacy of each patient. This allows health care providers to individualize education for patients. The use of techniques, such as gaining attention, providing clear and memorable explanations, and assessing understanding through "teach-back," can improve patient education. Verbal education during the office visit is considered the criterion standard. However, handouts, visual aids, audiovisual media, and Internet websites are examples of teaching aids that can be used as an adjunct to verbal instruction. Part II of this 2-part series on patient-physician interaction reviews the importance and need for patient education along with specific guidelines and techniques that can be used.