[Skip to Navigation]
February 1981

Patient Education: Fad or Reflection of Changed Standard of Care?

Author Affiliations

Veterans Administration Department of Medicine and Surgery Washington, DC 20420

Arch Intern Med. 1981;141(2):163. doi:10.1001/archinte.1981.00340020025010

Patient education has in many ways taken on the form of a movement. A number of diverse groups see its development as useful and indicative of a desirable change in the relationship between patient and provider. There is a great deal of activity in the field; for example, a 1978 survey found that 62% of the responding hospitals had inpatient education programs, which represented a 9% increase over a survey done just three years previously.1

Although debate about patient education has not been prominent, several issues reside in a kind of dialectical tension. Perhaps the most fundamental is whether patient education represents an upgrading of care based on humanistic concerns or is rather an instrument that ought to be adopted only if its efficacy is proved, just as in any other treatment modality. Many who see it as an instrument have further concern about the very thin research base

Add or change institution