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Main Lecture

 Patient education: the balancing between educational means and training in communication skills

Adriaan Visser, psychologist, PhD; lecturer Rotterdam University; Editor Patient Education and Counseling

The practice of patient education has evolved considerably during the last five decades. First there was the realization that hospitalized patients' distress was increased by a lack of information. This led to the introduction of patient education in hospitals, showing that patient education could increase satisfaction, and reduce anxiety and length of stay. Much more lately the limited role of educational means was stressed, and it became clear that that there is no effective medicine without communication between health care providers (HCP), patients and their social environment. Slowly, this recognition has led to improvements in medical education and the training of other HCP’s, e.g. nurses. Nowadays doctors and nurses give more information and patients ask for more information. Information available via the internet and patient organizations allows patients to better assess the quality of their treatment and empowers them to discuss treatment options. Recently, e-learning inventions have a strong impetus on the use of modern education means. History learned not to forget the training of HCPs in communication skills.