10 Elements of Competence for Using Teach-back Effectively
What is teach-back?
- A way to make sure you—the healthcare provider—explained information clearly. It is not a test or quiz of patients.
- Asking a patient (or family member) to explain in their own words what they need to know or do, in a caring way.
- A way to check for understanding and, if needed, re-explain and check again.
- A research-based health literacy intervention that improves patient-provider communication and patient health outcomes.1
- Use a caring tone of voice and attitude.
- Display comfortable body language and make eye contact.
- Use plain language.
- Ask the patient to explain back, using their own words.
- Use non-shaming, open-ended questions.
- Avoid asking questions that can be answered with a simple yes or no.
- Emphasize that the responsibility to explain clearly is on you, the provider.
- If the patient is not able to teach back correctly, explain again and re-check.
- Use reader-friendly print materials to support learning.
- Document use of patient response to teach-back.
1 Schillinger, 2003
For more information, visit http://www.teachbacktraining.org/home
Abrams MA, Rita S, Kurtz-Rossi S, Nielsen G. Always Use Teach-back! Toolkit. 2012. www.teachbacktraining.org.