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Ensuring Patient Comprehension

Posted on October 31, 2017 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of and John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

Erin Gilmer recently posted a very interesting “Literacy Comprehension” form from an Endoscopy Center. Check out the form below:

You have to applaud this effort by a practice to make sure that the patients understand the information being presented to them as part of the procedure. The cynic might argue that the clinic is just trying to cover their backside. However, Erin asks the more important question, “Is this an effective way to prove comprehension?”

I do like how this can open the patient up to the option to have a discussion about something they don’t understand. It sends a good message to the patients in that regard which could make the patient feel more appreciated and help the patient feel comfortable asking a question about something they would have just previously kept to themselves.

However, for those that aren’t literate, I don’t think this form will do much. I expect that many patients that aren’t literate likely get into a zone where they just sign whatever the medical practice gives them regardless of what it is and regardless of whether they can read it or not.

I think the idea is a good one but could be executed better. Could this be done verbally and have a bigger impact? What other ideas have you seen implemented? Do you like this approach or are their better ways to accomplish it?

Epion Health poised with health literacy Android tablet

Posted on August 19, 2011 I Written By

Dr. West is an endocrinologist in private practice in Washington, DC. He completed fellowship training in Endocrinology and Metabolism at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. Dr. West opened The Washington Endocrine Clinic, PLLC in 2009. He can be contacted at

I was recently introduced to a representative from an interesting company, Epion Health.  Epion is just about to roll out a novel way to take advantage of tablet computers to educate patients while they wait to be seen.  They are planning to use Android tablets to teach patients a variety of medical topics in which they might be interested, an thus promote the area of health literacy.  A captive audience, patients waiting to be seen in a doctor’s office, will be able to choose from a touch screen full of options.  According to their website, 5000 active tablets are estimated to reach a million patients every month.  That’s a pretty impressive number.  Moreover, the source of material is apparently peer reviewed and comes from the Mayo Clinic.

I think this would save me potentially a great amount of time if it were able to educate patients on how to take medications, side effects to watch for, what a particular condition they may have really is and means (in my field, for example, Hashimoto’s thyroiditis).   Although technology like this might automate doctors out of existence one day, for right now it would be a welcome tool for patient education.

By the way, I’m excited to say that I’ve had conversation with a company representative about potentially beta testing a tablet with my own patients once they roll out the first ones, possibly next month.

Dr. West is an endocrinologist in private practice in Washington, DC.  He completed fellowship training in Endocrinology and Metabolism at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. Dr. West opened The Washington Endocrine Clinic, PLLC, as a solo practice in 2009.  He can be reached at