How to Boost Outcomes with Patient Education

Across healthcare settings, patient education plays a key role in effective treatment plans, pre- and post-care management, chronic disease management, and preventive care. In this article, learn more about how patient education works, why it’s so important, and best practices for implementing it.

What is patient education?

The purpose of patient education is to empower patients and guide them toward better adherence, self-management, and prevention by helping them understand their diagnosis and rehabilitation plan. Education is key to helping patients improve self-efficacy and achieve good results.1 If patients don’t understand how therapy can help improve their condition, they’re much less likely to stick with it.

In many ways, effective patient education is about good communication. Clinicians can better inform and motivate patients by taking a patient-centered approach to care. This might include:

  • Helping patients identify their main goals, whether that’s returning to a competitive sport, being able to pick up a grandchild, or feeling less pain from day to day. That way, patients will better understand the value of therapy for them as individuals and why it’s worth the continued effort.
  • Using active listening to better understand patients’ questions and areas of confusion.
  • Clearly explaining to patients their condition and how completing their treatment plan will help them achieve their goals.
  • Providing high-quality educational tools such as handouts, videos, and diagrams that help illuminate concepts without too much length or jargon.

What are patient education examples?

Patient education can take many different forms, from paper-based handouts to video-based programs. Regardless of how it’s delivered, the most effective education is clear, engaging, and easily accessible.

Some common examples of patient education formats include:

  • Verbal explanations
  • In-person exercise demonstrations
  • Animated videos with 3D models
  • Customized condition descriptions to meet the needs of individual patients

A patient education program might range from simple and straightforward to more complex, depending on the patient’s condition and the goals of the program. A clinician might assign a comprehensive multimedia program designed to promote health literacy, improve lifestyle changes, and reduce readmissions for a patient with a condition such as asthma, diabetes, COPD, or heart disease. Or a practitioner might determine that an informational article and several videos are all that’s needed to help a patient with plantar fasciitis understand that condition and achieve the best outcomes.

What are the most important goals in patient education?

Effective patient education helps improve the patient experience by involving patients in their own care, as well as:

Increasing patient satisfaction

A patient’s understanding of their condition and treatment plan is an important component of their overall satisfaction. Engaging patients and families in the recovery process can reduce anxiety and increase confidence in the treatment plan.

Improving patient knowledge

Whether patients are facing a simple or complex condition, effective patient education helps improve understanding during treatment and provides patients with tools for maintaining results—even after discharge.

Boosting outcomes

Patients who are engaged in their recovery process are more likely to adhere to their treatment plan and experience fewer complications and better outcomes.2

How can MedBridge help with patient education?

The MedBridge Patient Education Platform helps improve patient engagement both in and out of the clinic, saving time, driving better outcomes, and increasing patient satisfaction. It includes hundreds of educational videos and handouts for conditions and treatment plans across physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech-language pathology, and athletic training.

Our award-winning platform allows clinicians to:

  • Engage patients with inviting animations and easy-to-read handouts
  • Present information appropriately for a range of health literacy levels, with online, in-app, and print formats
  • Improve inclusivity with Spanish translations
  • Improve convenience for patients with the MedBridge GO app
  • Share information with families to ensure everyone is on the same page

The research is clear: When patients understand their conditions and treatment plans, they’re more likely to complete their goals and improve their outcomes. MedBridge Patient Education uses easy-to-understand language and engaging animations, helping to transform your patients into informed partners in care.

1. Paterick T. E., Patel, N., Tajik, A. J., & Chandrasekaran, K. (2017). Improving health outcomes through patient education and partnerships with patients. Baylor Medical Center Proceedings, 30(1), 112–113. 2. ibid.