Original Research

Use and Effectiveness of the Teach-Back Method in Patient Education and Health Outcomes

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Inclusion Criteria

We systematically reviewed evidence regarding the teach-back method as an educational intervention for patients aged ≥ 18 years. We included articles if they reported the process and outcomes of using the method alone or in combination with other educational strategies. The literature search focused on English-language articles published in peer-reviewed journals. Included in the review were qualitative, randomized controlled trials (RCTs); quasi-experimental studies; cohort studies; and pretest–posttest studies on the effects of the teach-back method. As the method can be applied in any health care setting, we used studies conducted in a variety of settings, including primary care, inpatient, outpatient, emergency department (ED), and community, in any time frame. Study participants had heart failure, diabetes mellitus (DM), hypertension, asthma, or other chronic diseases.

Exclusion Criteria

Studies that used the teach-back method as an outcome measurement but not an intervention were excluded. For example, those that used the method to measure patients’ postintervention understanding were excluded. Also excluded were those that used the method to examine HCP training or to measure HCP outcomes (ie, studies that did not use the method for patient education or outcomes).

Literature Search

In September 2017, we searched 4 databases: Ovid Medline, PubMed, EBSCO (Elton B. Stephens Co), CINAHL (Cumulative Index to Nursing and Allied Health Literature), and ProQuest. Also included were relevant studies from cited reference searching (Figure).

This systematic review followed the PRISMA (Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses) guideline for searches and formatting results. The literature search was performed with the term teach-back and terms from the structured PICO (population, intervention, comparison, outcomes) statement. The study population consisted of patients who received the teach-back intervention as part of the patient education process in a medical care setting, and the comparator population consisted of patients who did not receive the intervention in their patient education. Target outcomes were disease self-management, self-care, patient satisfaction, patient perception and acknowledgment of the teach-back method, and other health outcomes.

Data Collection

Data collected included authors, publication date, and journal; purpose; study design; setting, sample, and population; intervention; and outcomes.

The methodologic quality of papers retrieved for review was determined with Critical Appraisals Skills Programme (CASP) guidelines (casp-uk.net/casp-tools-checklists). CASP randomised controlled trial, cohort study, case control study, and qualitative checklists were used. The authors assessed the full texts for eligibility. Disagreements were resolved through discussion.

The initial literature search found 112, 135, and 161 articles from EBSCO CINAHL, Ovid Medline, and PubMed, respectively. Five articles from ProQuest were identified through the EBSCO CINAHL search. After inclusion and exclusion criteria were applied, duplicate articles removed, a cited reference added, and CASP criteria assessed, 26 articles remained in the review. The 26 studies consisted of 15 cohort studies, 5 case–control studies, 5 RCTs, and 1 qualitative interview. Twenty-two of the articles were published in the US, the other 4 in Australia and Iran (2 each).11-14 All 26 studies used the teach-back method with other educational interventions to reinforce learning (eg, the method was used after heart failure or DM education). Of the 26 studies, 10 used a pretest–posttest intervention design,15-24 and 10 used a quasi-experimental or experimental design.11,13,14,25-31


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