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A. A Simple Communication Technique Improves Diabetes Management

Narrator: This is Science Today. A simple communication technique may be key to improving the health outcomes of patients with diabetes. Dr. Dean Shillinger led a recent University of California, San Francisco study, which found that doctors who engaged in what's called a 'teach-back' method made more of an impact with their patients.

Shillinger: In a health care setting, the idea is that at some point during the visit, the physician could sort of say, OK, Mrs. Jones - we've decided to make these changes with your medications. Let me just be clear in my instructions, when you go home today, how are you going to take your medications?

Narrator: But Shillinger says their study found this method is underused.

Shillinger: Most studies of doctor-patient communications I have to say, we doctors tend not to perform up to snuff and I think that's a manifestation of the multiple, competing demands that we have to do in a context of a fifteen or twenty minute visit. That said though, I think that it's really well worth the effort - what we're trying to do is manage a person's chronic condition in this case and in other situations, their acute conditions.

Narrator: For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.