Summary from Diversity Rx – Promoting Health Equity

Summary from Diversity Rx – Promoting Health Equity

I attended the Diversity Rx conference in March along with several colleagues. Below are my summaries and impressions of the workshops and presentations I attended.

Promoting Health Equity – Two Perspectives

Presenters: Sue Schlotterbeck, MS, RD, LD, Edward M. Kennedy Community Health Center and Elizabeth Walker Anderson, JD, System Director, Equitable Care, HealthEast Care System -Cross Cultural Services

The 2 presenters discussed their successes and lessons learned in promoting health equity. The presentations included sharing techniques, evaluation tools, and resources used to discuss the following six areas: organizational commitment, training and education, workforce diversity, language services, community engagement, and measuring and addressing health disparities.

Key ideas and take-aways for UMHS – ISP

Below are examples of strategies that UMHS Interpreters could utilize in our work to promote understanding and health equity for our patients. Ideally the heath care provider would present the materials this way, but if not, we as Interpreters could use the following techniques:

Ways to encourage questions:

  • Ask “What questions do you have?” This will let the patient know you would like him or her to ask questions.
  • Do not ask “Do you have any questions?” This often results in a quick “no” even if patients do have questions.
  • Encouraging Questions:
  • Lets patients know that their role in their own health care is important
  • Decreases the number of call-backs or questions after the patient leaves
  • Increases patient satisfaction and patient safety

What is “Teach Back”?

  • Technique that confirms the patient understands what the provider has ‘explained.’
  • Asking patients to repeat in their own words what they need to know or do, in a non-shaming way.
  • A chance to check for understanding and, if necessary, re-teach the information.
  • Demonstrates that the burden for effective communication is on the provider not the patient.

Why use “Teach Back”?

  • Asking that patients recall and restate what they have been told is one of 11 top patient safety practices based on scientific evidence.
  • Everyone benefits from clear information.
  • Research shows that patients remember and understand less than half of what providers explain to them.
  • Many patients are at risk of misunderstanding, but it is hard to identify them.
  • National Healthy People 2020 goals include: “Increase the proportion of persons who report their health care provider always asked them to describe how they will follow the instructions” (“Teach Back” relates to this goal).

Examples of “Teach Back” – Ways you can ask patients to demonstrate understanding, using their own words:

  • “I want to be sure I explained everything clearly.  Can you please explain it back to me so I can be sure I did?”
  • “What will you tell your _____ (partner, family…) about the changes we made to your blood pressure medicines today?”
  • “Instructions can be confusing.  I want to be sure I was clear in how I explained this medicine.  Can you tell me what it is for and how you will take it?”

**Excerpt from workshop handout – Edward M. Kennedy Community Health Center Contents of Online Training

**Health Literacy, “Teach Back” and Encouraging Patients to Ask Questions (rev 8/10/2011)

Additional information/suggestions

  • Studies show that there is an 88% increase in patient understanding when the “teach back” method is used. – WOW!!!!!
  • 50% of American adults (93 million) do not understand healthcare information
  • There is a feature in Microsoft Word that will check language grade level for documents that you write.
  • Someone from Interpreter Services/community health could attend the monthly new manager’s meetings and present on topics such as using interpreters, LEP patients, racism, white privilege, LGBT patients etc.
  • Annual staff training online (like our mandatories) includes a rotation of the following topics: 1) Working with the LGBT patients, 2) Working with interpreters, and 3) Understanding Racism
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