Knowledge is a key component of a patient’s health—just as essential as a regular check up and medication. When patients don’t have enough knowledge about a diagnosis or a certain prescription, they’re less likely to follow through with a treatment plan. In fact, half of all patients taking medications don’t take them as prescribed.
According to a World Health Organization report, “increasing the effectiveness of adherence interventions may have a far greater impact on the health of the population than any improvement in specific medical treatments.”
The barriers that get in the way of patient follow through are complex. They include difficult access to clinics, complicated drug regimens, and lack of involvement in health decision-making. Patient education plays a major role. According to an article in JAMA Internal Medicine, patients only retain half of the information they receive in the clinic. If the reasons for taking a certain medication are unclear, so are the consequences for not taking it.
Patient education should be prescribed as an essential part of a treatment plan, right next to medication. Some sources are better than others. The materials should be patient-centered and evidence-based, of course, but to do the most for patients, the resources should also be engaging, robust, and offer a range of information delivery options for a single topic.
Here’s a short list of resources ready for the prescription pad.
In a review article published in Mayo Clinic Proceedings in 2011, the authors found that patient education is a key component of medication adherence: "Effective patient education must be multifactorial, individualized, and delivered in a variety of methods and settings outside of the examining room."
Criteria for inclusion
Patient-centered / Evidence-based / Engaging / Robust / Diverse in the way it delivers information
Do you know of more resources that should be included? Write them down in the comments, and if they meet the criteria for inclusion, we'll add them to the list.