Studies have shown that patients only remember a fraction of what their doctor tells them, and if he/she is conveying bad news, they remember even less.
“He said I had some disease. I don’t remember the name – something like Silly disease, but it wasn’t that. So I’m supposed to stop eating bread and cakes. I didn’t ask him about pasta though.”
Some approaches, such as using models and diagrams, can aid initial patient comprehension, and take-home brochures are useful aids to the follow-on conversations.
Physicians also find that they repeat the same educational advice and recommendations to patients often, addressing the same issues over-and-over. This is stressful and can reduce effectiveness. For example, pediatricians spend inordinate amounts of time addressing parents’ concerns that vaccines may harm their children.
What physicians need to more effectively advise their patients and promote retention are a set of current resources, preferably using electronic media that patients can access and review after their visit, with links to further resources.
And what patients would love, is a recording of their session together the pictures and other items the doctor showed and what he/she said, that they can review at their leisure at home and with family and friends as they choose.
Addressing these two needs is the mission of Liberate Health.
"Imagine healthcare professionals as highly efficient, world-class, consultant educators. Imagine patients who leave their medical encounters informed, engaged, and activated. Imagine healthcare stakeholders having a new adherence focused channel that impacts the point of care conversation - and beyond." -- Liberate website
Recently Liberate announced a partnership with Rogers Healthcare Group in Canada, a leading medical publisher (CanadianHealthcareNetwork.ca / ProfessionSanté.ca, The Medical Post, L’actualité médicale, Pharmacy Practice, Québec Pharmacie, Drugstore Canada and L’actualité pharmaceutique), whereby Rogers will provide sales, marketing and communication support to Liberate. Other alliances are in the works, both inside and outside Canada.
Disclaimer: I advise Liberate in my role as a senior advisor at MaRS Discovery District.