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Advances in health and medicine.
Marjorie Bekaert Thomas
Advances in health and medicine.
General Health Channel
Reported May 21, 2013

Boosting Your Medical Memory -- Research Summary

BACKGROUND: Good health care begins with good communication. However, research indicates that as many as half of adults in this country have problems understanding health information. There are many reasons for this. Often, health care professionals use scientific terms that patients may not know. Sometimes, the amount of information given in a medical appointment can be too much to take in. Other times patients report they cannot remember what their doctor has said after they leave. (SOURCE:

HEALTH LITERACY: Health literacy refers to understanding how to get and use health information to take care of yourself. Taking steps to make sure you understand health information your doctor has given you is important, as miscommunications and misunderstandings can lead to dangerous situations where people do not receive the medical treatment they need. (SOURCE:

UNDERSTANDING AND REMEMBERING WHAT THE DOCTOR SAYS: There are many reasons why people often don’t understand or remember important parts of talks with their doctors. Stress, illness, anxiety, and compromising medications have been proven to contribute to poor recall after a doctor's visit. The following steps could help you remember your conversation with your doctor:

  • Ask a family member or friend to go with you
  • Take notes during the visit
  • Try to picture (visualize) what is being explained to you
  • Ask the doctor to explain in terms familiar to you
  • Reword your question and/or the doctor’s answer
  • Verbalize (say) what you heard
  • Take a small recording device like a tape recorder or cell phone with you


THE MEDICAL MEMORY: Some doctors are taking an added initiative to help their patients recall vital information. The Medical Memory is a video messaging service that allows doctor-patient visits to be recorded and uploaded to a secure website through a portable video device. The doctor records part or all of the visit, capturing crucial conversations and relevant explanations. After your visit, the video will be directly uploaded to your personal account. You can choose to watch the video as often as you want, and even share your account information with family and friends. (SOURCE:

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