The Influence of Patient Education on Healthcare
Patient education is the process of influencing a patient’s behavior, and delivering various lessons aimed at changing the patient’s attitude and knowledge in certain conditions, thus equipping the patient with the skills required to improve or maintain their health. Patient education plays a major role in enhancing patient safety, influencing better healthcare outcomes by helping the patient understand their healthcare needs, and improving their health literacy, thus improving the overall quality of care of the entire healthcare system (Yen and Leasure, 2019).
It is the responsibility of all healthcare professionals to deliver patient education to the patients, their families, and the community. This essay presents the influence of patient education in healthcare, based on an interview I conducted with Mrs. A, our family friend, on her experiences with the healthcare system.
Mrs. A is a 64-year-old African American living with type 2 diabetes. She is regularly in and out of hospital for checkups and treatment. She was recently hospitalized at Goodlife Medical Clinic for one and a half weeks following a foot injury. She was, therefore, the perfect interview candidate for the topic. Mrs. A responded that the doctors and nurses at the institution have always given her and her family patient education lessons since she was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes (A Carew, personal communication, July 18, 2022).
She remembers the major teachings about taking care of her health through appropriate diabetes management. She explains that the doctors and nurses taught her to take glucose tests at home, record the test reports and administer injections (A Carew, personal communication, July 18, 2022). Patient education helps the patient to take care of themselves, thus preventing complications that increase healthcare costs to the individual and the healthcare system. Patient education, therefore, enhances cost-effectiveness in the healthcare system.
Furthermore, she added that the nurses, the endocrinologist, and the pharmacist emphasized the medication, diet, and exercise she should be taking to manage her condition effectively. The nurses specifically taught her family members how they could assist her with administering the medication and encourage her to maintain a healthy diet and exercise regularly.
In addition, she mentioned that her family members, specifically her daughter assist her at home by helping her take the tests and reminding her to take her medication. According to Kimura et al. (2022), patient education to the patient and families is a form of engaging them in the treatment and management. Patient engagement enhances the healthcare system’s patient-centered care, thus improving care quality. More so, compliance to treatment and medication ensures continuity of care and leads to efficiency in the healthcare system.
Patient education increases patient satisfaction from the care providers and the satisfaction from the overall care. Patient education also influences health literacy, which translates to better health outcomes, fewer hospitalizations, less use of emergency services, and better medication adherence (Wittink and Oosterhaven, 2018). From the interview, Mrs. A confirmed that her health has improved since attending patient education lessons, and she is hospitalized less often than before the lessons.
In addition, she now understands her illness better and can accept it and manage it more effectively. She also mentioned that she is more satisfied with the healthcare services and care providers since she feels that they involve her and her family in care plans (A Carew, personal communication, July 18, 2022).
Ultimately, patient education plays a huge role in improving the healthcare system. From the analysis of the interview above, it can be noted that patient education reduces healthcare costs, improves healthcare outcomes, influences efficiency in healthcare delivery, and enhances patient satisfaction. All these factors enhance better care delivery. Patient education to the patient, their families, and the community should thus be encouraged and given more consideration by the healthcare system.
Yen, P. H., & Leasure, A. R. (2019). Use and Effectiveness of the Teach-Back Method in Patient Education and Health Outcomes. Federal practitioner: for the health care professionals of the VA, DoD, and PHS, 36(6), 284–289.
Kimura, M., Toyoda, M., Saito, N., Takahashi, M., Isozumi, K., Kato, E., Kawanami, D. & Fukagawa, M. (2022). The Importance of Patient and Family Engagement, the Needs for Self-Monitoring of Blood Glucose (SMBG)–Our Perspectives Learned Through a Story of SMBG Assistive Devices Made by a Husband of the Patient with Diabetes. Diabetes, Metabolic Syndrome and Obesity: Targets and Therapy, 15, 1627. https://doi.org/10.2147%2FDMSO.S363762
Wittink, H., & Oosterhaven, J. (2018). Patient education and health literacy. Musculoskeletal Science and Practice, 38, 120-127. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.msksp.2018.06.004