Guidelines Quick Guide

The Patient Education Practice Guidelines for Health Care Professionals provides concise direction for frontline health care professionals. The guidelines are based on the four components of the patient education process: assessment, planning, implementation and evaluation (APIE).  Each component is essential for the delivery of effective patient education. Effective patient education focuses on the concepts of "patient-centered" and "patient engagement." Additionally, effective strategies include plain language and focusing on behaviors, not just knowledge. For this document, “patient” includes consumers, family, friends, neighbors, guardians, significant other/partner or anyone else designated to address care needs.


  • Assess patient’s:
    • Culture, social support and socioeconomic information
    • Knowledge of current health issues and recommended treatments
  • Identify patient’s:
    • Learning preferences (verbal, written, visuals, multi-media, technology)
    • Priorities, concerns and motivations to learn
    • Barriers to learning (cognitive, sensory, physical, etc.)


  • Partner with patient to develop mutual education goals utilizing all aspect of the assessment. Goals are clearly stated, action-oriented, measurable, and achievable.
  • Develop teaching plan:
    • Focus on patient needs, priorities, behaviors and mitigate any barriers to learning
    • Use evidence-based teaching strategies (e.g., easy to understand language, multi-modal, multi-sensory, repeated contact, personalize)
    • Identify educational resources to achieve identified learning goals (e.g., decision aids, interactive games, videos, written information, phone apps, kiosks)


  • Implement the plan:
    • Focus on the patient by maintaining patient’s self-esteem; be attuned to patient’s verbal/nonverbal cues (active listening skills)        
    • Use plain language, focused messaging, review of key points
    • Effectively use teaching resources with patient (how to use resource; highlight key information; follow-up on patient questions)
  • Adjust teaching based on patient’s response/changes in learning needs.
    • Encourage and answer patient questions
    • Clarify messaging; using different words or analogies 


  • Evaluate patient understanding:
    • Use teach back strategy and return demonstration of hands-on skills
    • Evaluate learning by patient’s ability to relate how to deal with real life situational problems/when to seek medical attention
  • Measure a change in patient outcomes.


Guidelines Homepage
Frequently Asked Questions
References by List
References Alphabetically
Guidelines Quick Guide
Patient Education Guidelines (b & w pdf)
Patient Education Guidelines (color pdf)
 © Copyright 2021 Health Care Education Association