The Use of Audiotapes
for Patient Education
MARK S. SCHWARTZ
Audiotapes have a legitimate place in applied psychophysiology, biofeedback, behavior therapy, and behavioral medicine. This chapter focuses on the advantages of using audiotapes for patient education and relaxation, and considerations in the use of such tapes. The dimensions of relaxation tapes, making one's own tapes versus getting commercially available ones, and the issue of taped versus live relaxation therapy are topics explored here.
Some advantages of audiotapes for patient education are part of the extensive discussions of audiotapes and patient education by Doak, Doak, and Root (1985). This section includes aspects of their cogent discussions, which conclude that tapes can be very useful. They have advantages for care providers, practical benefits, and advantages for patients and their families.
1. Conservation of time. Using tapes can conserve a practitioner's time. Carefully prepared tapes can be combined with face-to-face presentations and printed materials.
2. Increased flexibility. Printed patient education booklets have a place in helping to inform and prepare patients. However, these are impractical and/or insufficient for some patients. Audiotapes can increase the flexibility of patient education and relaxation training.
3. Reduced "burnout" from repetition. Because providers repeat the same or similar information to many patients, face-to-face presentations of patient education and relaxation procedures often become tedious. Frequent repetition of the same information can result in practitioners' losing interest. The use of well-developed audiotapes can ease routine instructions (Doak et al., 1985), as well as help to maintain quality control over the information provided.