So what this means is that "despite the increase attentiveness to involving patients in their care and teaching patients about why they are in the hospital—and they're still not getting the take home message and how it applies to them," Olson says.
This may call for rethinking how to communicate better with patients, he notes. For instance, when patients are admitted to the hospital, they may be told by physicians about the diagnosis, but they usually do not receive written information about that diagnosis, which could help.
Then on discharge, "we give them a lot of instructions that are written, but maybe don't go over things in a very systematic and comprehensive way verbally," he says. "Sort of marrying these two methods of patient communication—the written and verbal—from the moment they hit the door, would be one way of improving patient comprehension."
Also, with increasing use of computer and electronic medical records while the patient was in his or her room, this could help patients learn more about their diagnoses as well, he says.