We spend a lot of time educating our patients. It is necessary to do so because there are so many misunderstandings that are widely held and our advice often contradicts these misunderstandings. Also, it is part of the transaction of a medical encounter for us to give information to the patient. This is what they are essentially paying us for: our medical opinion, which is in the form of information as well as a plan of action. Both of these need to be communicated accurately. If they are not, then we either get calls back, or we get noncompliant patients.
In an effort to make our office more efficient, I have taken on the task of writing patient education material. I am planning on posting this in exam rooms as well as on our web site. My hope is that it will make the patient more receptive to our decisions as they have a clear idea about where we are coming from. I find myself saying the same thing over and over again, I hear the nurses saying the same thing over and over again, and I hear the patients asking the same questions over and over again. Wouldn't it be easier to just give better resources?
Now people may ask, why not use resources already out there for patients. There are certainly good places for information, so why not use them? There are several reasons for writing my own education material:
- I want them to hear my opinion. I cannot read all of the resources out there on all subjects. This is probably partly due to the innate distrust I have of others, which is ingrained in us during medical school and residency. But the truth is, I want to ease the process, and so it will be much easier if it is my own words.
- I like to write. Enough said. I can add my own style (perhaps...some humor - but no llamas)
- I can link to numerous outside resources and can hand-pick the ones I think are good on specific subjects.
So I am starting this as a series on the blog. I will post various educational pieces for patients. For medical people out there, I want your opinions on the material and offer you the right to use it yourself. For non-medical people, I ask you to also give your opinion and perhaps learn something.
For a good example of this, see my MRSA post.