A Historical Perspective on Patient Education in Clinical Practice and in Medical Education

Jan C Wouda, Henricus van de Wiel, KM Paarlberg

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterProfessional


Over the last 50 years, communication skills training (CST) has been a regular part of medical education in most Western countries. However, until recently, CST programs mainly focused on the skills of history-taking, and patient-education skills were less addressed. With patient education, we refer to the use of educational methods, such as the provision of information, advice, and behavior modification techniques, to influence the patients’ knowledge, opinions, and health and illness behavior in order to ensure that the patient is able to collaborate effectively in deciding on the care that she or he receives and can make the best possible contribution to that care. Furthermore, CST programs in medical and other healthcare education are usually limited to training activities isolated from clinical practice. As a consequence, most healthcare staff has been insufficiently prepared for their patient-education tasks in clinical practice. In order to understand the deficiencies in patient-education skills of healthcare workers, especially of those adhering to the biopsychosocial model of care, this chapter provides a historical overview of patient education in clinical practice and in medical training. The critical-reflections paragraph that concludes this chapter contains some recommendations to remedy these deficiencies.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationBio-Psycho-Social Obstetrics and Gynecology
Subtitle of host publicationA Competency-Oriented Approach
EditorsKM Paarlberg, HBM van de Wiel
Number of pages18
Publication statusPublished - 1-Jan-2017

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