Educating and training patients

12 January, 2022

Patients are the only people at every health intervention in their own lives and they need information and training and support to do well whether they live in Dubai, Sub Saharan Africa, Moscow, Beijing, Cancun, Oslo - or anywhere. Digital inclusion can help and a changed culture of collaboration and shared responsibility. The same applies for planetary health I think.

As a family doctor in the UK with 2000 patients spending 5hours a day consulting (I had visits, letters to write, letters to read, prescriptions to write, results to interpret, staff to train, premises to upkeep wages to pay etc, I had time for about 4 10 minute consultations with each patient every year - that is 40 minutes!! That includes saying hello and goodbye, asking questions, examining, explaining and prescribing. . It was impossible to inform, educate, discuss and train a patient in that time which is where igital technology offers so many potential advantages - particularly shared medical records and shared care pathway and diagnosis tools. Giving patients copies of or access to the paper or digital record multiplies the time you have with a patient and with the family and with any other professional tha the patient wants to share the information with - allowing me to speak for and represent the patient in my absence elsewhere.

Health literacy and past education matter too. As Tedros (DG of the WHO) said we can manage the pandemic with collaboration, competition or combat.

Collaboration suits my personality best.


HIFA profile: Richard Fitton is a retired family doctor - GP, British Medical Association. Professional interests: Health literacy, patient partnership of trust and implementation of healthcare with professionals, family and public involvement in the prevention of modern lifestyle diseases, patients using access to professional records to overcome confidentiality barriers to care, patients as part of the policing of the use of their patient data

Email address: richardpeterfitton7 AT


AMA Health literacy.pdf