Patient Education Resources In the Office: Why They Benefit You And The Patient

Kathleen Satterfield DPM FACFAOM

You glance at the chart, the clock and the smiling patient. You are right on schedule. Now that is refreshing for a change. You extend your hand to say goodbye and tell the patient you will see her again in two weeks. She can call the office if she has any questions.

That is the trigger for the sudden cascade of inquiries that topples the perfect clinic schedule. You settle back in your chair and prepare to answer your patient’s questions. That extra five minutes multiplied by the 30 to 60 patients you see per day can mean more than two hours added to your schedule if even just a fraction of them require extra time.

What we all need is a good “physician extender.” Short of cloning ourselves, the best physician extender is a podiatric medical assistant, medical assistant, certified nursing assistant, physician assistant or registered nurse. However, the economic impact is considerable if you add trained personnel.

The second best solution is using available patient education pamphlets that are effective to varying degrees depending on their quality. These are available for purchase from vendors and review the basics most of the most common medical/biomechanical conditions as well as common conditions that may require surgery.

An emerging option is the use of educational books to help answer patient questions and having those same books available for sale in your waiting area. This practice is currently seen in allopathic medicine, particularly in dermatology and plastic surgery. It helps patients by reinforcing your message and extending their education in other areas. This practice increases your revenue flow as well.

I was recently asked to review a book for the Journal of the American Podiatric Medical Association (JAPMA) and I believe it would be an excellent resource to facilitate patient education. Keep the Legs You Stand On is penned by Mark Hinkes, DPM, and is published by Nightengale Press.

It reads more like a novel at times with touching or funny stories to bring home the importance of taking care of oneself. With the book at the podiatrist’s side as a reference guide, he or she will be able to reinforce key educational points with patients in a manner that will be memorable. This book is not the only resource that DPMs can use in this manner but it is one of the better and most recent ones I have seen.

In an era of no time to spare, no end to the education that needs to be shared and a need to explore every potential revenue source, educational resources merit further exploration for the benefits they could provide to patients and physicians alike.

Comments

I couldn't agree more, with Dr. Satterfield, that educational "hand outs" and materials are a must for keeping a patient informed . In my 40 yrs. in private & governmental practices, I have ALWAYS given "take home" material at the end of the visit to emphasize the "meat" of the discussion. This allows the patient time to "digest" the info & gives them the opportunity to discuss with others, using YOUR handout.
The book "Keep the Legs You Stand On", by Dr. Mark Hinkes, a excellant way for the diabtic patient to review steps toward avoiding amputations, an example President Obama used in a recent T.V. discussion on the rising cost of health care. This publication should be available in every podiatric office, if not only for reference , but also "For Sale" & distribution.
Timothy J. Byron, D.P.M., M.S.
Chief, Podiatric Surgery, Veterans Hospital,Nashville, TN.

Diabetes self-management education is the cornerstone of care for all people with diabetes. "Keep the Legs You Stand On" is recommended reading for patients with diabetes, their families and caregivers. In addition, I believe that this book provides medical students, interns, residents and nurses with important knowledge regarding the evaluation, risk assessment and management of the diabetic foot.

Lee J. Sanders, DPM
Past president, Health Care and Education
The American Diabetes Association

I too want to add my voice of support for a new era of patient compliance through effective risk communication and education. Ask any diabetes educator and they will tell you that "telling isn't teaching". Indeed in the short period of time most clinicians have to care for patients there is precious little time to provide much "telling" let alone "teaching". Dr. Hinkes's book "Keep the Legs You Stand On" begins to communicate risk in 6 short words and facilitate the process of self discovery. We must encourage our patients to take control of what they can control, make voluntary changes in their behaviors and become a larger part of their own health care destiny. This book should provide an effective tool in that endeavor.

Jeffrey M. Robbins, DPM
Chief Podiatry Service VACO

There is only a certain amount that patients can absorb when you are talking to them as they sit in the treatment chair. When a diabetic is seen in our office for the first time, they are presented with a packet of diabetic foot information for them to take home and read. Yes, much of that information is discussed in our face to face meeting, but I know that only a small percentage is retained. By providing take home material, they are urged to refer to that material as often as they can. Dr. Hinkes's book, "Keep the Legs You Stand On", is truly a "one stop shop" when it comes to diabetic education and a "must" in the household of every diabetic.

Jay D. Lifshen, DPM
President, Southwest Podiatry LLP

Dr. Hinkes' book is a fabulous resource. It contains practical information that can't easily be found elsewhere and it is written in terms that a non-medical person can understand. It is a must-own for every diabetic.

Andy Kaplan
Roanoke, VA

I agree with the comments by Dr. Satterfield and subsequent posters about Dr. Hinkes book Keep the Legs You Stand On. This is the only book I know of that is written in such a way to be useful, not only to the intended audience, our patients, but also to other health care providers who may not get involved with diabetic foot issues on a regular basis. It is comprehensive and accurate enough to be of use to the health care community while maintaining a "down home" tone that would be acceptable to the lay patient. By incorporating anecdotes about both patients and specialists in the field it makes the topic come to life for the reader. I congratulate Dr. Hinkes on this obvious labor of love.

Warren S. Joseph, DPM
Huntingdon Valley, PA

I agree with Dr. Satterfield's comments. Education is key with all of our patients, especially the ones with diabetes. Dr. Hinkes' book "Keep The Legs You Stand On", provides a more detailed insight then we can usually provide in a 20-30 minute or even a 1 hour patient consultation. Most patients forget what is told or explained to them the minute they walk out of the office door. This book helps to remind & reinforce to the patient what was explained to them previously in the office, and as such will hopefully translate into proper follow-through with their foot care instructions. The book is written for anyone to be able to easily read & navigate through. Patients and healthcare providers can easily glide through the book, pulling the information they need from the "easy going" stories & writing style.

Howard Green, DPM, FACFAS
Head, Dept of Podiatry, Vancouver General Hospital
Vancouver, BC

This book has been an excellent addition to my educational toolbox for my patients. Although I attempt to teach every time the patient is in the office, it is wonderful to be able to sugest a reference book that truly covers all possible areas of concern for these high risk patients. Plus it is written for the non-medical person. Thank you Dr. Hinkes for putting this informational book together.
Dolores Farrer, DPM, MBA, CWS, CHT
Dorn VA Hospital, Columbia, SC

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