Allied health workers role in patient education in the United States: a narrative review

Introduction: Patient education (PE) has been traditionally seen as the role of nurses and physicians, while allied health workers (AHWs)-who make up the biggest population of the US healthcare workforce-are sometimes reduced to providing supportive roles. This article reviews the available literature on the role of AHWs in providing PE in the US.

Methods: This review was based on a search of the databases Academic Search Ultimate; Health Source-Consumer Edition; Health Source-Nursing/Academic Edition and MEDLINE initially conducted between January 10 and February 3, 2021, and later re-done between December 20 and December 22, 2021. This review applied guidelines for narrative reviews (Ferrari 2015). The search looked at papers published between 2001 and 2021, which discussed allied health professions relevant to the US health system. Results: The review derived 18 articles from the search and two articles from the reference lists of the 18 articles. The review found that AHWs seldom performed PE, although the profession of physical therapy made efforts to formalize participation in PE.

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