The moment a patient walks out the door, they tend to forget 40 to 80 percent of the information given to them by their healthcare provider. What’s more, half of the information they do remember is inaccurate. This includes relevant information relating to medications, follow-up visits, after-care and therapy—which if ignored, can have a significant impact on patient health.
You can help patients retain their post-visit instructions with these simple tips. Use some healthcare promotional items to really get your message to stick.
- Encourage notetaking: A considerable amount of medical advice is given verbally, but studies show that only about 10 percent of what is heard is retained. Taking notes while listening—and reviewing those notes within 24 hours of an appointment—can increase memory retention by as much as 70 percent. Provide new patients with a journal they can use to jot notes and encourage them to review them when they get home. Sticky notes are another useful way to encourage notetaking. Keep a basket within easy reach in each of your clinic rooms.
- Promote virtual communication: Patients often have questions long after the office closes, so make it easy for them to reach out. Virtual options for communication, such as email or messaging, allow patients to connect any time. A Harris poll found that 90 percent of patients want to communicate with their physicians via email, yet only 15 percent actually do. Encourage patients to contact you online by imprinting a clip with your e-communication channels. Increase your impact when you clip this health promotional item to after-visit summary printouts.
- Provide various teaching methods: People have different learning methods. Some do best with watching or listening, others by reading, and others prefer to be more hands-on. Vary your teaching methods depending on your patient’s learning style. Visual learners may benefit from pictures, illustrations or infographics in their post-visit summaries. For example, include an image of the pill, capsule or tablet right on their medication instruction sheet. If you offer samples, include a pill organizer as an additional reminder. Those who learn by doing may benefit from a demonstration on how to use an inhaler or auto-injector. Or, provide a tester and allow them to practice during their visit.
- Take advantage of tech: Further enhance retention by supplementing your online or printed summaries with text notifications. Text messages can be a great way to deliver discharge instructions, follow-up reminders, medication education and even video demonstrations. Encourage patients to opt-in by entering those who do into prize drawings for health promotional items like a blender bottle or first aid kit.
Improving retention improves overall patient health. Help patients remember important post-visit instructions with these helpful tips and healthcare promotional items.