Sunday, January 26, 2014

Important Aspects On Patient Handouts

By Eliza Mendoza

There is no doubt that patient handouts play a very important role in patient education. They make it easy for passage of information to a large group of clients at the same time and as a health care provider your task becomes very easy. At the same time, they are a convenient way of informing your clients about your services. When placed in the waiting areas, chances are that many of the patients will want to have a look at what is inside them as they wait for their turn.

You need to plan well before you implement the use of these tools in your facility. Part of the planning entails formulation of objectives that you intend to achieve with this initiative. You must know what the content of the documents will be right from the start. The general categories are educational and promotional material. You need to decide between one of these categories. You may even design something that incorporates the two.

You must understand your clients well. The characteristics of your client pool will determine in a great way the kind of design that will be adopted. This means that you may need to do some research as regards aspects such as the main problems affecting your clients, the kind of changes that they would like to see in service delivery, their literacy levels and so on. The research can be done from your facility using simple tools such as questionnaires and interviews.

The next thing that should be done is to determine the type of design that will be adopted. There is no doubt that cost will play a major role in determining what you will have for the design. Ensure that you have enough money to take care of the entire project. Take some time to visit several designers to determine which of them provides the best quality at the most favorable price. Other things that have to be factored in the design include the type of paper, writing style and the theme.

Creation of the content is what should take the bulk of your time. Very lengthy materials tend to be boring and may not be read by your clients. Very sketchy information, on the other hand, raises more questions than answers. Ensure that what the work is properly organized under topics, subtopics and there are brief explanations.

The choice of language is very important as it will determine whether your message will be determined or not. Avoid long complex sentences as these tend to lose meaning and confuse the reader. Shorter and concise sentences should be chosen instead. If you will be using some technical terms, have their explanations included.

A few handouts are used for suitability testing. The clients used for this process are chosen randomly and their comments sought. The feedback obtained is then used to make improvements before the final copies are prepared.

Patient handouts are a very convenient way of communicating with clients in a hospital setting. They are not only cheap but have also been shown to reduce consultation times in many centers. This is because they help educate the client easing the burden on the physician.

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