Teach-back for better health

30 July 2015 | Media release

Do you ever feel like you’re not getting through to some of your patients? Are they regularly not following through on your advice and treatment plans for managing their conditions?

It might be time to Teach-back.

The Teach-back technique focuses on the use of clear, simple language when speaking with patients and having them confirm their understanding by asking them to ‘teach-back’ the information.

Teach-back is a best practice communications method for addressing health literacy, and can be used with all patients universally to reduce misunderstanding. It can also assist patients to better engage in their care.

A new video resource developed in partnership between the Centre for Culture, Ethnicity and Health, St Vincent’s Hospital, and Melbourne Primary Care Network, demonstrates how to use the Teach-back method in the context of a consultation with a patient about managing their hepatitis B.

The video aims to improve health care safety and outcomes by ensuring patients have correctly understood important information about their condition and the things they need to do – such as taking medicines appropriately.

Infectious disease specialist, Dr Nadia Chaves, says helping patients understand their condition and their role in treatment can be life changing.

“Teach-back is really useful because it means that what I say to the patient I know they have understood,” Dr Chaves said. “And it’s a way of engaging the patient in their own health.”

The new resource is now available on the MPCN website in the Health Literacy – Resources for Health Professionals section.

For more information on Teach-back and general health literacy, please call Michelle Ferrari on 03 9347 1188 or email michelle.ferrari@mpcn.org.au

Are you a health organisation, service provider, educational institution or practitioner? You can help promote clearer communication and understanding between patients and providers by hosting the Teach-back video on your website, and promoting it through your communication materials.