More than one way to get the word out

A variety of methods alert patients to opportunities

To enhance patient learning and increase patients' access to books and resources available at M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, a patient education office communication plan has been established. This plan consists of a number of steps to promote health education programs and other resources so patients are fully aware of the opportunities for learning available.

The education office maintains a number of handbooks and information packets that are automatically provided to patients at certain points of their care.

The first packet is mailed to patients once they register for an appointment and includes a welcome brochure, a general instruction sheet, and an instruction sheet specific to the center where they will be treated. It also has information about what to bring and about clinical trials available.

"That packet is to help them get to M.D. Anderson and to start introducing them to the institution," says Louise Villejo, MPH, CHES, executive director of the patient education office at M.D. Anderson Cancer Center.

Once patients arrive at the health care facility, they receive a handbook that has more information about the clinical services available as well as resources such as the learning center and place of wellness. Also, it has information on patient rights and responsibilities, advance directives, and HIPPA.

A patient education guide is also given to patients and lists all the resources that can be accessed via the video-on-demand system and other educational resources.

In conjunction with the communications department, the patient education office prints a weekly newsletter with information on the programs available that week. There is a list of the classes held in the M.D. Anderson classrooms and place of wellness as well as short articles on research written from a patient perspective. These newsletters are placed next to elevators and in patient service areas.

Literature racks that hold flyers promoting classes and programs are also used to get the word out as well as in-house television channels. Bulletin boards with lighting are located in several areas of the hospital. This space is used to communicate various messages such as patient safety, learning center resources, or questions patients might ask their physician.

A variety of ways to get information to patients helps make sure everyone will learn what educational resources are available to them.


For more information about getting information on educational opportunities to patients, contact:

  • Louise Villejo, MPH, CHES, executive director, M. D. Anderson Cancer Center, patient education office, 1515 Holcombe – 21, Houston, TX 77030. Phone: (713) 792-7128. E-mail: