Evidence shows that the teach-back technique benefits patient outcomes, but time constraints, fear that the patient will take offense, and a lack of training keep some physicians from using it. Here’s how to use teach-back quickly and sensitively:
1. Focusing on an important detail of your care plan, ask the patient to repeat your recommendations in his or her own words. For example, you could ask, “Just to be sure I was clear, how will you take your new medicine?”
2. Emphasize to the patient that you are not testing his or her knowledge but whether you did a good job explaining the information.
3. If the patient’s explanation is not correct, repeat the recommendation and then ask him or her to explain it again.
4. Use teach-back with one or two patients a day until you become comfortable enough with the technique to expand it to additional patients.
Adapted from "Teach-Back: A Simple Technique to Enhance Patients’ Understanding."
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