Quality Improvement: Patient Education


Patient Education

Education to patients is a well-recognized practice in quality health care (Bahar- Horenstein et al., 2005). Education provides patients with the ability to understand their medical issues and manage them appropriately.

Data Collection Tools

Data needed to Monitor Improvement

A number of factors influence the achievement of the goals of patient education. This practice requires communication to the patient in the appropriate time, providing information that is accurate, using clear messages that are precise, the information provided should also be complete (Marcus, 2014). If the mentioned factors can be improved, then the goals of patient education and eventual the goals of the health service can be achieved.

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Additionally, considering that information can be misinterpreted or misunderstood by some patients, prompts for choosing of most effective methods and channels of patient communication. Tutoring skills and relationship building skills among the medical practitioners concerned with patient education influences the effectiveness of patient education (Marcus, 2014). Relationship building is essential for understanding the patient as different patients have different needs.

Another area of concern is collaboration between colleagues because patient education may require the skills of different professionals (Marcus, 2014). How well do the colleagues work as a team, and how often the practitioners make collaborative efforts to ensure a common objective is achieved.

The following tools can be used to collect data about the quality of patient education.


The interviewees are identified and recruited. There is then an initiation of an interview protocol with questions which most could be open ended. Interviewers must be skilled. The interviews could be recorded as notes, or audio messages or video messages (AHRQ, 2016). The data is analysed by software by the data analysis experts.

Data Collected by Interviews

It collects data on opinions and thoughts on what can be improved about the patient education program. Interviews are also useful in collecting data about the clarity of the education program. Through interviews, one is able to tell the level of understanding of the patient, it is also possible to tell if the information was misinterpreted.

Strengths and Weaknesses

Interviews has a number of strengths. It is useful in observing the nonverbal cues that the respondent might be hiding. It is also important in clarification of a misunderstood question. Interviews are good in collecting additional information that the respondent is willing to give. It also has weaknesses (AHRQ, 2016). When collecting data from a large number of respondents, conducting interviews with all of them would seem impossible. It is also time consuming as it deals with only a handful or one respondent at a time.


Testing of the research instrument should be done before anything else. Different sampling techniques can be employed. The survey is distributed using various means. It could be through emails, through the website, telephone calls, or on paper (AHRQ, 2016). For the web based surveys and emails, having a database system to manage the responses is very important to avoid data inconsistencies and errors.

Data Collected by Surveys

Surveys are helpful in collecting data about the timing of the program, accuracy and opinions of the respondents.

Strengths and Weaknesses

Surveys are time saving as they can collect information from multiple respondents in a very short period of time. Surveys that are not web based are good in keeping respondent confidentiality and therefore encourage honest responses. Surveys present the problem of misunderstanding a question (AHRQ, 2016). One is not able to make clarification on questions that the respondent does not understand.

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Focused Groups

This involves having an access to a group of people who fit the criteria of data being collected. The groups is structured in such a way that there is a moderator with good moderation skills (Marcus, 2014). There is also a moderator guide containing questions mostly open ended. The data obtained could be recorded in multiple formats. Audio, video or text. Video tapes and video cameras, tape recorders and note books are used. The conversation is summarized (AHRQ, 2016). Analysis of the results of all the groups can be done using a software program that specializes in qualitative or quantitative data analysis.

Data Collected

Can collect data on opinions and thoughts, timing of the patient education program, and suggestions on how the program can be improved.

Strengths and Weaknesses

The answers given by focused groups are more in-depth. It is very effective in coming up with suggestions that if implemented can work. Data collected by this method is also accurate as people understand the question and are not afraid to give honest responses (AHRQ, 2016). It is however time consuming and tiresome as people have to assemble at the same point to have a discussion.

Similarities and Differences among the Data Collection Tools

Surveys ask specific questions about a wide range of topics whereas Interviews asks specific questions on either one or a handful of topics.

Focused groups are exploratory whereas surveys are conclusive. Focused groups tend to explain not only the opinions of the responds but also why they have those opinions.

Surveys have no fixed duration that is they can be very short or very long. Most interviews tend to follow the laid down interview schedule.

They are similar in the sense that all of them present questions to the respondents and get a response.

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Data Display, Measurement and Reporting

A number of tools can be used to measure and report Quality Improvement. They Include:

Run Chart

Different names have been used to refer to run chart. It is also called a line graph. It summarizes the details of a QI plan.  It displays the trends in performance over a certain period. This is important in identifying improvements or a drop in a phenomenon. When using a run chart, one asks if the average line is where it is supposed to be in order to meet quality. One also asks if there is an important trend that needs to be given immediate attention (Bulkowski, 2005). The basic structure of a run charts is that events are placed on the y axis and graphed against time in the x axis.

Dashboard Reports

Can be designed by computer programs such as the Microsoft Office package. They are normally summaries of information that has been accumulated over time (Bulkowski, 2005). Dashboard reports exclude the details of solutions and existing problems.

Did you like this sample?
  1. Agency for Health Care Research. Tools and Other Needs for Qualitative and Quantitative Methods. Rockville, MD.  February, 2016. 06.05.2013.
  2. https://www.ahrq.gov/professionals/ quality-patient-safety/talkingquality/assess/tools.html
  3. Bulkowski, N.T. Getting Started in Chart Patterns. Wiley. 2005
  4. Marcus, Cara. Strategies for Improving the Quality of Verbal Patient and Family Education: A Review of the literature and Creation of the Educate Model. Taylor & Francis. 2014
  5. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4346059
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