Guest post by Dr. Mary C. Burke, an attending physician in emergency medicine at Milford Regional Medical Center in Milford, MA.
From a health IT perspective, patient communication is broken. With more than 20 years of experience as an emergency physician, this point was driven home to me while using physical therapy to recover from a knee injury. The more I looked at information from my physical therapist and tried to remember the instructions he provided, the more I realized that this part of communication in healthcare is flawed.
I couldn’t reproduce my physical therapy exercises, and I quickly became a frustrated patient. I might have just thrown my hands up and hoped to figure it out eventually, but I wanted to be up and around on my two feet soon following a knee injury. Sound familiar? Apparently forgetting instructions and other information is pretty common and is playing out frequently in multiple scenarios. As I looked into information about understanding and remembering provider instructions, I quickly learned that this was not just my own personal experience.