An introduction to patient education: theory and practice.Med Teach 2004; 26(4):359-65MT
Patient education is the process of enabling individuals to make informed decisions about their personal health-related behaviour. It aims to improve health by encouraging compliance with medical treatment regimens and promoting healthy lifestyles. Behavioural change for patients is a complex process and requires more than the simple acquisition of knowledge. Several educational models based on behavioural theories have been developed to explain individuals' health-related behaviour. The health belief model is the one most commonly used in research. The four principal components of this model are the individual's perception of his or her personal susceptibility to disease, perception of the severity of the disease and perception of the benefits from and barriers to modifying behaviour. The health belief model can be used to design educational interventions that are most likely to be effective. Patient education is a duty for all health practitioners and it should be a core component of medical school curricula.