Columbus, OH – 1/12/21.
‘White coat syndrome’ typically refers to a patient’s tendency to exhibit high blood pressure when in their doctor’s office but not at other times. For those patients, the anxiety of being in a medical setting is enough to induce abnormal readings even if they’re usual, by objective standards, considered healthy. Arguably, not uncommonly, white coat syndrome should be expanded to include context-dependent amnesia. There’s something about facing your doctor, even someone you may have known for years and trust highly, that sends relevant questions from your mind, and pertinent information from your memory.
A practice called ‘teach-back’ could help patients understand and retain helpful details from their medical visits, improving their care outcomes, decreasing rates of hospitalization, and overall lowering costs. According to research from the University of Florida, when healthcare providers ask a patient to repeat back what they’ve just heard, both sides have the chance to confirm recall and comprehension. It’s a low-pressure, real-time mechanism to make sure patients walk out of the exam room equipped and empowered.
In their latest studies, the University of Florida team focused principally on how teach-back could be effective with Type 1 and Type 2 patients. Diabetes requires particularly consistent attention to detail and awareness of individual nuances. Patients’ capacity to self-manage is essential to their success.
In a press release shared by the University of Florida, Young-Rock Hong, Ph.D., M.P.H., the lead investigator, is quoted as saying, “Despite the increasing availability of treatment and preventive options, many patients with diabetes do not meet evidence-based management goals and continue to develop preventable complications.”
These sorts of techniques, however, are still rare to find in clinical practice, despite the apparent ease and upsides. One concern among providers is that patients could perceive such questioning as overly paternalistic. Whatever the reasons, likely various, the reality is that programs that encourage meaningful dialogue among patients and providers could save lives along with billions of dollars.
Digital solutions like that developed by Health in Motion Network, currently being deployed to patients via thousands of independent community pharmacists nationwide, foster interactions with convenience, trust, and transparency supported by security. While teach-back and similar concepts should be implemented in direct provider-to-patient, in-office interactions, taking advantage of virtual care systems, directed by and through qualified practitioners, can make the transmission of information easier, faster, and better. And that’s a lesson we can all appreciate learning.
Health In Motion Network delivers a consumer-centric, digitally enhanced healthcare ecosystem, enabling centralized and personalized, pharmacist-driven care management, empowering consumer choice and optimizing clinical outcomes.