When patients are diagnosed with a condition that requires extensive or long-term treatment, going the “take two of these and call me in the morning” route might seem the simplest way to go, but it can be detrimental to their personal outcome. Patient education is a very important part of the diagnostic and treatment process that should not be overlooked or glazed over. In fact, some hospitals and practices employ patient educators whose specific job it is to work with patients to improve their understanding. Those who have a better understanding of their condition, how it can affect them, things they can do to improve their own outcome, and the why and how of their diagnosis and prognosis are better patients and will have a better outcome and outlook as they go through treatment.
Pay more attention to detail.
Patients who are given proper education on things like diabetes, heart disease, cancer, and other conditions will pay more attention to their own actions and how they might affect their treatment. If a diabetic patient is connected with a diabetes educator and spends ample time learning the intricacies of their disease, they can more easily combat insulin fluctuations, learn how to control a dip or spike, and be able to record and report their daily readings to their physician. This understanding and accuracy will help the physician to keep their condition well-regulated.
Have a better understanding of how treatment works.
When a patient understands how a particular course of treatment was selected and what that treatment will begin to do for them, they are more likely to follow the protocol set up by their physician. Remember when you were a child and you became defiant and indignant when your parents gave you no better reason to follow their instruction than “because I said so?” Your patients may have the same feelings of defiance when they’re told to follow a specific regimen and are not advised on the reasoning behind it or exactly what kind of results they should expect to see from their compliance. Having that understanding makes your patients more invested in their own outcome.
More proactive with preventing interaction issues.
Patients who have a solid knowledge base that is put into place by their doctor will be on the lookout for things in their daily activities that may interfere with their treatment. They will take more care to check on the unknowns and make certain that they are making the best possible decisions for themselves as it pertains to their condition and their treatment plan.
Those who take the time to ensure that their patients are properly educated and advised about any medical condition they may be experiencing also will develop a deeper level of trust with those individuals. They will be more comfortable asking questions about important issues that arise along the way and they feel confident enough to share unusual symptoms and reactions that will help you to do a better job with producing the positive outcome that each of your patients deserve.