Let's talk a little about patient education...

One of the top complaints of dissatisfied patients (hospital and clinic patients) is the lack of patient-provider communication, including the quality of patient education. RSHC providers are used to witnessing these paltry interactions, often because the nature of procedural medicine (e.g. overbooked and overworked nurses and physicians) limits the time providers have with their patients.

If you are confused about the pathology and treatment of your chronic conditions, you are not alone! It is one of the most common problems of America's medical system.

It's easy for physicians to forget this simple fact: patients must make day-to-day decisions about how to self-manage their illnesses. Each day, patients make decisions about diet, exercise, and medication use, often without knowing how these seemingly simple choices can potentially worsen their underlying health.

Physicians also tend to be a bit preachy (Dr. Ren will be the first to admit it)! Doctors and NPs spend so much time treating common conditions they tend to take these complex issues for granted. It's easy to tell a patient about why a disease is the way it is, but they often fail to teach patients what they truly need to know: self-management techniques.

Traditionally, health care providers tell patients what to do. Once outside the office, however, this kind of "education" falls apart. A new educational model is necessary. With self-management education, we teach our patients vital problem-solving skills for managing their medical conditions. The goal at RSHC is for patients to have self-efficacy and confidence to make safe and productive decisions about their health.

Various controlled clinical trials* of patient education techniques suggest:

  1. The mastery of self-management skills improve patient health far more than traditional, information-only education.
  2. Patient self-management reduces the costs associated with some medical conditions, such as asthma (because it leads to less ER visits, for example).
  3.  Quality self-management education via group therapy is also effective in improving health and reducing medical expenses.

Education that helps our patients feel better, be healthier, and spend less money? You can bet that RSHC offers it! Below you will find additional information on the educational programs we offer.


Patient-provider communication and patient/family education are central values at RSHC. Unfortunately, most physician practices lack the time to properly educate their patients about their medical conditions, which has far-reaching consequences. It is neither satisfactory for the patient or their physician. At RSHC, we ensure that all our patients' questions are answered when we care for them.

However, there are times when patients and their family members have questions needing answers, which they can't seem to find elsewhere. For example, a patient may need extensive counseling regarding diabetes and insulin management. Another may need help with dietary and weight loss planning. Occasionally, patients are sent home from the hospital with new diagnoses and/or equipment they don't fully understand. In such cases, our providers are happy to help, via house call or tele-medicine. Click here to explore the many teaching and counseling topics we cover.


One of the best ways to foster patient support is via group therapy and education. This is especially true for those medical conditions with a heavy emotional toll such as psychiatric issues; cancer; autoimmune disease; and/or terminal conditions. Our practice is actively creating groups in our community. We can also create group sessions by design, such as for church groups, community centers, day cares, and shelters of all kinds. Come discover the groups we currently offer and our in-progress projects. Contact us if you think your community could benefit from a physician or nurse-led group or information session; we will create a program for your community!

Public Education

In addition to group therapy and education, RSHC offers a variety of Public education events. Most of these are by request, meaning we create physician and nurse-led speaking events for the specific needs of hospitals, schools, home-school groups, churches, domestic violence shelters, job fairs, and advocacy groups. Dr. Ren has significant educational and public speaking experience; she would love to present at your next event. Let us know how we can help you.

* Bodenheimer, T. Patient self-management of chronic disease in primary care. JAMA. 2002; 288(19): 2469-2475.