Q:

What is patient education used for?

A:

Quick Answer

Patient education is used to improve understanding of a medical condition, encourage self-advocacy, involve patients in treatments and allow patients to make informed health care decisions. An informed patient may feel an increased satisfaction in care.

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Full Answer

Patient education is used to engage patients in the health care process. The information received can help patients make better choices and change their habits to improve health. This can mean an immediate improvement in the condition being treated and long-term health.

Patient education transfers some of the responsibility of treatment to the patient. A patient who doesn't fully understand how a drug works make take it incorrectly. A patient who doesn't understand the significance of physical therapy on recovery from an injury may not recover as quickly. When the patient has more knowledge, she is better able to follow the treatment plan.

Medical practices also use patient education to help from the business perspective. A patient who feels she is well cared for and educated may be more likely to refer the health care provider to others. Patients who are informed and proactive in their health care may need fewer follow-up services. Physicians may also lower the risk of malpractice when the patient has a realistic view of what to expect.

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