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What is teach-back and how does it help?

 Teach-back is a technique to assess how well the clinician has explained
the information in a way that the patient understands.  Teach-back encourages shared meaning between patient and clinician. It involves asking patients to explain (“tell me”) or demonstrate (“show me”) what they have been told.
Teach-back may help with obtaining informed consent for treatment and  increased understanding and adherence.

Teach back steps:

  1. Clinician explains to the patient a new concept, diagnosis or treatment plan in small chunks.
  2. Patient explains, or ‘teaches back’, what was said.
  3. If the patient cannot show that they have understood, the clinician
    explains in a different way and again asks the patient to teach-back.

The cycle of explaining and checking continues until the clinician is confident in the patient’s understanding.

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Last reviewed: Mar 2017

Languages: English

Resource Type: Tip/Fact Sheets