Magazine article Talent Development

Bedside Manners: Five Training Areas Will Help Healthcare Professionals to Communicate Productively and Provide Patient-Centered Care

Magazine article Talent Development

Bedside Manners: Five Training Areas Will Help Healthcare Professionals to Communicate Productively and Provide Patient-Centered Care

Article excerpt

Since the passage of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) in 2010, we have entered a new era of patient-centered care in which patients and caregivers are essential partners in the care process. This transition means that providers in healthcare organizations are interacting with patients, caregivers, and colleagues as a cohesive team that produces higher quality care and better health outcomes.

The Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion (ODPHP) within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services is committed to training health professionals in the communication and health literacy strategies needed to provide patient-centered care in a reformed healthcare system. ODPHP offers free online training and resources to help health professionals learn practical skills that will help them play a role in improving the nation's health. One such resource is the Health Literate Care Model.

A roadmap to patient-centered care training

Communication is at the root of patient-centered care, and communication skills can be improved through professional workforce training. A framework for improving the interactions between providers and their patients can be found in the Health Literate Care Model.

This model, created by Howard Koh and his colleagues in 2012, is derived from the widely adopted evidence-based care model proposed in 1996 by Edward Wagner and co-authors. The Health Literate Care Model offers a framework with strategies and principles that organizations can follow to provide a more patient-centered experience.

The premise of the model is that productive interactions between patients and providers improve health literacy by closing the gap between what is understandable and actionable between providers and patients. Health literacy-the ability to obtain, process, understand, and communicate basic health information and services to make appropriate health decisions-is essential to navigating and engaging in the healthcare system. The Health Literate Care Model emphasizes staff training in health-literate strategies and culturally competent care throughout the organization.

Five areas of development

More than one-third of U.S. adults, or 77 million people, have difficulty with common health tasks, such as following directions on a prescription drug label or reading a pamphlet about physical activity information. Following self-care instructions upon leaving the hospital or understanding what clinical preventive services are recommended can be a daunting task.

Thus, the Health Literate Care Model offers five evidence-based areas for health professional development training that can help providers and healthcare organizations support patient-centered care. Training in these areas can produce healthcare providers who are successful in supporting their patients in self-management, making the delivery system and clinical information processes more patient centered, sharing decisions with patients, and partnering with community organizations. Supporting patients' self-management.

Evidence-based health literacy strategies, such as the teach-back method, can be used by healthcare staff to successfully empower and engage patients in their care. The teach-back method asks patients to explain the information they received from the doctor in their own words. This helps to confirm understanding and correct any miscommunicated information.

This simple health literacy strategy can empower patients to feel confident in their abilities to manage their care outside of the hospital. Redesigning delivery processes. All patients are different, so the delivery of care to each patient should be tailored. In the Health Literate Care Model, healthcare staff members take on diverse roles to deliver patient-centered care that meets the health literacy needs of patients.

One way to redesign the delivery process is for healthcare staff to complete a "brown bag" medication review with certain patients to confirm that a patient knows which medications to take and when. …

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