Chunk and Check

Chunk and Check

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5 minutes
5 minutes

The Chunk and Check technique involves breaking down the information that you want to discuss, and that you need the person to understand, into smaller, more manageable forms rather than providing it all at once.

‘Chunking’ means breaking down longer and more complex explanations into digestible pieces, or ‘chunks’. This can help patient understanding and recall because smaller pieces of information are easier to process.

After you give a piece of information, ‘check’ that patients have understood what you are trying to say. You may do this by using methods such as Teach Back, or by observing a consumers’ nonverbal responses.  Only move on to the next ‘chunk’ when you are confident about the understanding of the current ‘chunk’.

Patients may have questions while things are being explained to them, which limits their understanding of the information that follows.  If all the information is provided at once, and they hold their question until the end, their understanding may be affected.  They may also forget to get clarification of critical pieces of information. The Chunk and Check method can address this by stopping at appropriate moments to check understanding and to give the patient the opportunity to ask questions at key points.


Tips and Tricks

  • Provide the most important information first – it is most likely to be remembered.
  • Ensure you confirm their understanding of the key points during the discussion.
  • Watch the patient’s face whilst giving information – look for non-verbal cues that they are feeling overloaded by information or their attention has dropped.



Consultations for Health – Chunk and Check YouTube Video 9.33mins  Video:


Article: Factors associated with patient recall of key information in ambulatory specialty care visits: Results of an innovative methodology
Laws MB, Lee Y, Taubin T, Rogers WH, Wilson IB (2018) Factors associated with patient recall of key information in ambulatory specialty care visits: Results of an innovative methodology. PLOS ONE 13(2): e0191940.

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Last Updated on 3 December, 2020.