[3 Reasons Why]
According to Quality Improvement for Institutions nearly 90% of the population has difficulty reading, understanding and acting upon medical information.
Reason 1: A Diagnosis In Writing
This one seems pretty self explanatory yet very few of us put in the time to complete discharge sheets. I myself put this off for several years (embarrassing, I know).
Now, I think most professionals can relate to this but do you ever feel like you are so close to our work we assume once the patient is told this information once, even if it is explained well, they will remember it.
Several studies suggest it is a certain demographic of patients that will not remember or understand their diagnosis, however, I truly believe it doesn’t matter who you are EVERYONE can benefit from written information regarding their diagnosis and what you talked about that day.
I wouldn’t recommend too much information on the discharge sheets. Our discharge sheets answers no more than 5 common questions in response to a new diagnosis.
Another recommendations would be to include a pictograph. It is nice to be able to highlight or mark up a drawing of the outer, middle, or inner ear rather than just show them a diagram on the wall. Visuals are extremely powerful.
Reason 2: Provides A Plan
What I like about the discharge sheet is it makes me write down their follow up plan. This makes me give the patient the “next steps” in writing
Where I work we see a lot of referrals for medical evaluations and sometimes the patients don’t know why they are being seen. Now, I know that the audiologist probably explained to them in detail about why they were being referred, however, the patient just didn’t retain or understand that information.
This is a perfect example of why discharge sheets can be so powerful. It empowers the patient when they go in for their medical evaluation because even if they don’t fully understand why they are being seen they have…. the discharge sheet. It also reminds them to follow up AFTER the appointment. Reminding them, yet again, to follow up with you.
Reason 3: Ensures Follow Up
As a society we are taking in more content and information than ever before. In order for things to truly sink in it has to be explained simply and in no longer than three to five steps.
So for example, if you see a patient that needs to be referred for an asymmetrical hearing loss within the recommendations we include:
1: Schedule an appointment with ENT for an evaluation of asymmetrical hearing loss.
2: Schedule your second complementary appointment with us where we will discuss hearing aids and possibly be fit with a demo hearing aid. That’s all. The less steps the better.
I have noticed a better follow up rate once we started practicing written recommendations and follow up care.
Most importantly, I believe that taking that extra step, although small, enhances the patient’s overall experience at your office.
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