H1N1 Facts Among Top Lessons Taught by Patient Educators

Thursday, October 22nd, 2009
This post was written by Melanie Matthews

Almost half of healthcare organizations that conduct patient education and outreach teach about the diagnosis, spread and treatment of the H1N1 flu, according to a new survey on patient education and outreach efforts conducted by the Healthcare Intelligence Network (HIN).

Simple interventions such as the education of patients in the self-care and prevention of medical conditions can help to reduce hospitalizations and readmissions, explains Melanie Matthews, HIN executive vice president and chief operating officer. The HIN August 2009 Patient Education and Outreach Benchmarks e-survey examined the prevalence of patient and member education programs, the health areas addressed by these efforts, healthcare education delivery methods, the chief impact of patient education programs and the measurement of ROI from education and outreach programs.

Benchmarks in Patient Education: Prevention, Self-Care Top Lessons, a complimentary executive summary of responses from 134 healthcare organizations, offers lessons in the value of educating patients and members about disease management and self-care.

“A patient or health plan member who grasps their healthcare options, the plan of care for a chronic condition and the impact of their behaviors on health status is far less likely to wind up in the hospital or the emergency room for treatment of an avoidable condition,” adds Matthews. “Healthcare organizations are learning that an investment in patient and member education is money well spent.”

Healthcare providers looking to jump-start patient outreach should reach no further than their appointment calendar, recommends Barbara Wall, a healthcare consultant who advises organizations on adoption of the patient-centered medical home (PCMH) model of care. Click here to listen to Ms. Wall describe the simple steps that medical home staff can follow to turn the appointment calendar into a patient teaching, recall and outreach tool.

Ms. Wall provides an example of how a medical assistant trained in patient teaching and outreach can impact health outcomes: “When the MA identifies that the patient hasn’t had a diabetic foot exam, she may call the patient prior to their visit and say, “Can you come in 15 minutes early? I’d like us to sit down, we’ll do the foot exam, and I can teach you about what you need to look for.”

The Healthcare Intelligence Network conducts monthly e-surveys on topics of interest to the healthcare industry. To review results from recent surveys, please click here. Survey results are indicated by the red and blue “HIN” logo.

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