To learn more about how clinicians use “teach-back” to improve communication with patients, access AHRQ’s Guide to Improving Patient Safety in Primary Care Settings by Engaging Patients. The new resource features evidence-based interventions for implementing the teach-back technique in primary care practices. With teach-back, clinicians ask patients or family members to explain in their own words what they need to know or do. It is more than repeating what patients or family members heard—clinicians ask them to teach it back.
Effective communication is a clinician’s first step to helping a patient with a health problem. The evidence-based, low-technology teach-back technique can be the gateway to better communication and better understanding, and ultimately it can improve patient outcomes.
The Guide to Improving Patient Safety in Primary Care Settings by Engaging Patients and Families is a compilation of evidence-based best practices for improving patient safety through patient, family, and caregiver engagement. This comprehensive guide provides primary care practices with four strategies that they can adopt to improve patient safety. A practice may choose to adopt one or all of the strategies. The four strategies and the materials to support adoption of each are:
Teach-back is a technique for health care providers to ensure that they have explained medical information clearly so that patients and their families understand what is communicated to them. This intervention includes several materials to support adoption:
- Teach-Back Implementation Quick Start Guide (available in full page and brochure format) (PDF, 429 KB)
- Teach-Back Interactive Learning Module for Clinicians and Practice Staff (Flash)
- Teach-Back Clinician Job Aid (full page) (PDF, 38 KB) and Teach-Back Clinician Job Aid (4x6 pocket card) (PDF, 68 KB)
- Teach-Back: A Guide for Staff (poster/handout format) (PDF, 384 KB)
- A Patient’s Guide to Teach-Back (poster/handout format) (PDF, 1.3 MB)
- Teach-Back Conviction and Confidence Scale (PDF, 441 KB)
- Are You Using Teach-Back? Survey (PDF, 153 KB)
Be Prepared To Be Engaged
This toolkit will help patients and their families prepare for and become more fully engaged in their medical appointments—to be ready for the appointment, to speak up, to ask questions, to take notes. Tools are also available for clinicians and practice staff to encourage and reinforce patient preparation and engagement. Materials for this intervention are expected to be released in November or December 2016.
Medication management is a strategy for engaging with patients and caregivers to create a complete and accurate medication list using the brown bag method. A complete and accurate medication list is the foundation for addressing medication reconciliation and medication management issues. These tools will also help to identify risks for an adverse drug event, such as overdosing, underdosing, or missing medications, or other important contextual factors limiting adherence. Materials for this intervention are expected to be released in January or February 2017.
A warm handoff is a transfer of care from one clinician to another, where the handoff occurs in front of the patient and family. This transparent handoff of care allows patients and families to hear what is said between clinicians and engages patients and families in communication, giving them the opportunity to clarify or correct information they provided or ask questions about their care. Materials for this intervention are expected to be released in March or April 2017.
Additional implementation and evaluation guidance will be provided with the final release of the Guide in early 2018.
To be notified when interventions are released, please join our distribution list.
Page last reviewed October 2016