What does it mean to look at patient education through an equity lens? Learn why this is a good idea, and how you can do it.
Today I’m going to talk about taking an equity lens on the patient education process: what it is, why it’s a good idea, and how you can do it. I also have an exciting announcement.
Hi everybody. I’m Dr. Anne Marie Liebel. This is “10 Minutes to Better Patient Communication” from Health Communication Partners.
I’ve been listening to where people are now in their health equity strategy, and one pain point I’m hearing is, “what do we do next?” Ultimately, we want to reduce avoidable health disparities in quality, access and outcomes. So looking at patient education through an equity lens can be a very powerful move.
We know the overall effect of patient education on health outcomes is statistically significant and positive, so we work hard to be better educators–no matter what, or where, or whom we are teaching. I know this because you’ve shared your stories with me. Everyone who listens to this show and comes to the Health Communication Partners site has been constantly improving their patient education processes. I get to hear the compelling, amazing, patient-centered pedagogies that you have been developing. I get to hear about your work with trauma informed pedagogies, and anti-racist pedagogies. It’s an exciting time in the patient education field.
So taking an equity lens on patient education is also a good health equity strategy move. Because we’re all trying to help integrate health equity into core processes. And patient education is effective across patient scenarios, across diseases, so it’s applicable to many departments’ work. And the metrics they’re already collecting.
Now, I’ve talked about putting on equity lenses and looking at processes and practices that you see all the time. Because when you put on new lenses, and look at something you have always seen, you can see it in a new way. It can show you new things. And typically, we’re looking for obstacles and opportunities. Now in order to reduce avoidable health disparities, I think we need to recognize and manage systems-level and individual-level obstacles, barriers to equitable patient education. I want to talk for a minute about those structural-level , systems level, institutional level barriers or obstacles.
One of the focuses on improving patient education the last several years has been on addressing provider bias as an impediment. Yes, this is real. And it’s important. I’ve talked about it too. We know how important it is and how much work it takes to look internally and pay attention to what we’re doing and thinking as individuals when we educate. Giving attention to our implicit and explicit biases is crucial.
What gets less attention are structural, systems-level barriers that can make it harder to educate everyone equally, let alone equitably. I’m with those people who are saying “hey, don’t forget to look bigger than any one person’s style, bigger than any one person’s biases.” I was a teacher–you know that if you’ve been listening to this show. I worked hard to be good at it too, and about 10 years into teaching I started my doc program at University of Pennsylvania.
And it knocked me out when we started learning about some of the structural obstacles all around us that were making it harder for us to teach all our students equitably. Elements I didn’t even see even though they were all around me, and I was good at my job, and I had not not been paying attention. Fast forward another several years and I’m education faculty, teaching educators about this as my career. I’ve spent most of the last decade, as you know, talking with and educating health professionals. All this time I have been listening to people’s stories, listening kind of between the lines, to try to hear what are the structural obstacles that they are running into, where are they, what would constitute structural obstacles in healthcare and public health? And I’ve found that these are common, but they’re not commonly talked about.
And that brings me to our exciting announcement! We have a new course: Equitable Patient Education.
This course is the best of what I teach over and over, from years of working with organizations who have taken a long term view on health equity, and also years as a critical practitioner myself.
This course is a holistic look at the patient education process through equity lenses.
So I want to answer a couple questions about the course, starting with: what do you learn?
• 6 common educational scenarios and how they can harbor obstacles to equity
• Specific actions you can take to remove barriers to improving educational quality
• How to modify current educational practices to help reach more learners–without taking more time
• Stories of failure and success from professionals across medicine, nursing and public health
• One essential question that could change the way you think about patient education
There’s plenty of resources out there for improving patient education. So what I really want to tell you about is what you get out of this that makes it different.
This is my research, right, so all the interviews. All the conversations. Five years of data collection and then analyzing these through equity lenses to reveal these obstacles within common education situations–and ways to manage them.
I’ve been teaching about this as well. So I’ve taken what people have appreciated the most over the years, and gathered it together into this course.
What also makes this different is how it works. It’s a hybrid course. It’s for organizations, groups of 10 or more people. Here’s why: it’s part filmed—so, microlearnings, you watch on demand on your own time, and then we do a live, one hour, virtual group session. You and your colleagues, we actually start the ball rolling, with what you’ve learned in the filmed portion of course. So you can take action in your specific context. This is a COURSE+ACTION.
It’ll work with your other initiatives. I know you work hard to provide culturally tailored services and this is another tool in that box. One of the course participants said “Your perspective is aligned with much of our other trainings–motivational interviewing, cultural humility, and trauma informed care–with a slightly different angle that is provocative and interesting.” This is critical pedagogy in the health space. If you like critical pedagogy, Paolo Freire, you’ll like this. If you like culturally-relevant, culturally-sustaining pedagogy, you’ll like this.
And I want to thank everyone who’s already reached out. The course has just come out and there’s already a buzz, which as a small business person is a dream come true. It’s amazing and I’m blown away.
Last year we released Equitable Patient Communication. And as soon as we were done with that, we knew it was time to go to the educators. Organizations have already signed up and taken the course and one participant said, “This is so needed! There are tons of tools and great information out there, but it takes a special skillset to translate that knowledge into practice.”
And that “knowledge into practice” comment means a lot to me. Because one of the strongest reasons people come to this show, come to the Health Communication Partners website, is my approach to reflective practice. And this whole course is based on it. The engine of this course is reflective practice. There’s activities at the end, and then the live group meeting like I said, and both of them encourage you toward a community of practice. I’m entirely thankful to my mentor Dr. Susan Lytle at University Of Pennsylvania for her guidance with this course design and what’s in it, too.
So a couple quick questions: Who is this course for?
This course is for anyone whose professional responsibilities include direct patient education. Medicine, nursing, public health, community health. Also if you are in medical education, or health professions education this would be helpful for you.
How much does it cost to take this course?
Equitable Patient Education is designed not as a one-and-done, because you know me! The one-time workshops have their place but this is not one of them. This is a hybrid that promotes awareness and action. So organizations derive value, and you get to immediately apply what you’ve learned, and start to wrestle with some of these issues, for $95 per person. Again that’s a minimum of 10 people. There are discounts for 100 or more learners.
Because you want to enhance your education skills to help ensure an effective education process that you provide to your patients, your community, your partners. Your organization wants to be able to say “here is another concrete actionable way we are promoting health equity.” This is traditional capacity building, folks, and it’s also process improvement. Because it’s important that putting on equity lenses, and looking at patient education, becomes part of business as usual. Because ultimately we want to reduce avoidable disparities.
This course has been 5 years in the making so there’s a lot more I could say about it. So go to healthcommunicationpartners.com, you’ll see the banner. I also have a FAQ page. You can find me on linked as well. This has been 10 Minutes to Better Patient Communication. Audio engineering by Joe Liebel, music by joe Liebel and Alexis Rounds.