Point-of-Care Perspectives from PatientPoint

How to Leverage Trusted Education to Increase Health Literacy

by Kate Merz

In a recent survey conducted with OnePoll, PatientPoint found that Americans are generally anxious about going to doctor’s appointments. Why? Because they don’t know how best to describe their condition and worry that they won’t understand their diagnosis. But here is the good news: with the right education in your office, you can boost health literacy, reduce this anxiety and create a better care experience.

Follow these tips on how to find accurate, trustworthy health information and share it in a way that educates patients and empowers them to be active in their care.

View the results of our survey

Look to leading organizations

PatientPoint partners with some of the top associations and organizations in health education. This gives us access to content that we know has been vetted and expertly crafted. We recommend that you turn to leading organizations within your specialty to find content relevant to your patients.

Check out the video below from the International Essential Tremor Foundation for a great example of content that is relevant, engaging and educational for patients.

Speak at their level

Simple language matters when speaking to patients. Using technical terms and medical jargon may confuse patients and limit what they comprehend about their diagnosis or treatment. The educational materials you provide should be just as simple and clear as your language. It may also help if the information is presented visually when applicable.

Just make sure that the materials don’t confuse being simple with being patronizing. You want the materials to help the patient feel empowered, not belittled. Watch this video from PatientPoint to see how to be informative without talking down to patients.

Pick the right moments

There are many opportunities to educate the patient, even when the doctor isn’t present. While patients are in the waiting room and feeling nervous about their appointments, provide health information that will calm their nerves and prepare them to talk about any symptoms they’re experiencing. We recommend showing information on screens to capture their attention, rather than on posters, which may be ignored.

In addition, a screen in the exam room can help patients learn about their condition while waiting for their provider. This exam room screen can also be a part of the appointment itself, featuring 3D anatomicals or other visual components to complement the provider’s explanations.

Here’s another video from PatientPoint, giving tips for managing diabetes.

Make sure your practice has everything it needs to boost not only patient education but also patient engagement. Take a look at our patient engagement technology checklist

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