Who gets a teach-back? Patient-reported incidence of experiencing a teach-back

Andrew J Jager, Matthew K Wynia
Journal of Health Communication 2012, 17 Suppl 3: 294-302
To ensure comprehension, clinicians have been urged to use "teach-backs"-explicitly asking patients to repeat back key points of instruction-with every patient receiving new care management instructions. Yet, it is not known whether certain patient groups are more likely to receive teach-backs than others. This study used results from the patient survey of the Communication Climate Assessment Toolkit to examine patient-reported incidence of teach-back by patient education level, age, language preference, race/ethnicity, and perception of sufficient time with doctors. In a multivariable model, patients had significantly greater odds of reporting a teach-back if they were of African American race/ethnicity, had non-English language preference, less education, increased age, or perceived that they had sufficient time with their doctor. This study concludes that some physicians seem to be directing teach-back efforts at certain patients, including those from demographic groups where lower literacy is more common, potentially leading patients who could benefit from teach-back to be overlooked. In addition, the strong correlation between reporting receiving a teach-back and reporting having enough time with a doctor merits further study.

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