Patient education is a process in which medical information is communicated to patients, with the aim to improve their health status. Patient education can be carried out in various ways and includes a set of activities undertaken to spread the knowledge about health, illnesses and related information.
Need for Patient Education
Advice is available from every corner and patients are often bombarded with loads of information from everyone around them. Such information can create more confusion in the minds of patients rather than actual education.
For a major population, which does not have access to medical information, patient education has its own value. At the same time, in today’s world of well-informed and educated patients, it becomes more important to have a reliable source of patient education to avoid unnecessary anxiety.
Benefits of Patient Education
Patient education, when dealt with earnestly, can work wonders in improving patient health as well as the overall performance of the healthcare system.
Here are some benefits of patient education.
Increased health awareness
While many people still follow age old practices, educating them about the latest medical know-hows and healthy practices can help to create health awareness. It not only helps in disease prevention but also promotes good health and hygiene at all levels. Eradication of many infectious diseases, thereby reducing the burden on healthcare system, has been possible with the help of patient education.
For many illnesses, sophisticated investigations or surgical procedures may be required and patient education plays a very vital role in such cases. Proper information about the prognosis of the condition, need for surgery, about the procedure and its management reduces patient anxiety. This ultimately helps to minimise complications and unnecessary hospitalization thus proving beneficial for the entire healthcare system.
Improved patient confidence
After listening to different opinions and past experiences of others, patients tend to become nervous. Proper patient education helps to put the patient at ease and enables them to be more positive and co-operative. In addition to a feeling of satisfaction that they are attended, they also gain confidence in the healthcare system.
Improved patient compliance
Appropriate patient education helps in imparting knowledge about their condition, necessary investigations, treatment plans and procedures, if any. It allows patients to accept and cope with the condition in a better way. It helps in increasing the patient’s chances of completing the given treatment plan with regular follow-ups thus improving health success rates and minimizing wastage of healthcare resources.
Better self-care and motivation
Patient education helps patients understand about their conditions and the ways of self-care and management at home. The importance of prevention of illnesses, vaccinations, rehabilitation and patient self-care measures, can also be successfully developed by delivering the precise medical information to the patients. It helps to keep patients active about caring for themselves and remain motivated to follow medical advice and assisting the healthcare system.
Increased patient satisfaction and credibility
Hospitals, doctors and healthcare organisations that offer patient education are considered to be concerned about their patients. As patients often feel unimportant if they are not attended to, they also feel extremely satisfied when their medical conditions are explained to them. When they are made to understand the importance of certain medical treatment plans or their doubts regarding certain procedures are cleared, they feel nurtured, which increases patient satisfaction and adds to the credit of healthcare professionals.
Educating patients not only makes patients more informed but also responsible towards their healthcare decisions. All these benefits help patients to receive better health care and people in remote areas, too can get access to the right medical information.
The healthcare system is also at an advantage as patient education helps to gain more reliability and exposure, helps in cost reduction, effective resource management and ultimately helps to expand the horizon of healthcare services.
Choosing the most suitable mode of patient education is crucial and one might even face various challenges in patient education. When healthcare professionals impart patient education in the right manner, the right medical information can be passed on to the patients. Patient education is an effective tool as well as a beneficial feature that defines a healthcare system. A medically informed patient is the hallmark of a successful healthcare system.