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As clinicians we strongly underestimate how much information our patients understand and retain. A study by PHE in 2015 showed that 61% of the population found it difficult to understand health information which subsequently has a profound effect on patients in the ways that they engage with healthcare. These difficulties may come in many forms such as language barriers/complexity or reading ability, for example. It is likely that this leaves many patients in a position where they are unable to understand the information given to them which affects:

  • Their ability to consent appropriately to proceudres
  • Their ability to self-manage post-operatively

Initiatives from this work with PHE has lead to projects being developed around the UK to support both workforce and patients. However there have been no initiatives yet within dentistry

Our aim is to pilot literacy a project within dentistry, starting with select specialties in order to target certain treatments to establish the issues that patients face with understanding pre and post-operative information:

  • We aim to produce a range of readily available media including video and audio
  • We have support form national literacy project leads in order to utilise those already existing resources
  • We want to improve patients ability to self-manage problems where this is feasible and safe and reduce admission to other healthcare providers (GP, A&E, Pharmacy, 111 etc)
  • Create a resource that is open to other healthcare sectors outside of dentistry

The intention is to improve patient experience and outcomes whilst also enhancing relationships between clinicians and patients by removing barriers that cause confusion and frustration around treatments.

How you can contribute

  • Input from others having developed similar resources
  • Support from those with experience developing Shared Decision Making tools
  • Help from those with video and audio production in healthcare
  • Those interested in joining a team!

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