Patient Education Technology
At the core of modern healthcare, patient education plays a very important role in the management of diseases and treatment options. Patient education is a crucial component as patients develop greater control over their illness, increases compliance, and patient empowerment, with high chances of improved outcomes and less healthcare burden. Nursing, in particular, has by far benefitted from these concepts as they continue to implement newer and better strategies for improved patient care. Initially, when nurses realized the importance of education patients about their illness and medical procedures, studies revealed that patients rarely retained this information. Most of the times, patients walked away with more confusion about the information they received, and readmission rates were highly prevalent. However, due to the frequent obstacles nurses faced in providing patients with successful education, they have now adopted the use of information systems in healthcare that offers a more comprehensive patient education system that supports safe nursing practices and benefits patients and their families.
Over the past few decades, patient education has noticeably changed with the biggest transformation being moving from a practice where the healthcare professional decides what is best for the patients to a practice where patients are empowered, and treatment decisions are made through collaboration. Not all this would have been possible without the use of technology, which has eliminated the use of the traditional pamphlet, which on several occasions left the patients uninformed. One such move is the use of interactive technology, as an innovation and emerging healthcare delivery practice that makes it easier to provide education resources to patients with the hope of involving the patient in the more positive management of their illness (Cassano, n.d).Interactive technologies are tailored in a way to meet individual needs such as pain management or medication teaching. Virtually, reinforced by nursing support, interactive technologies adopt personalized patient information and use teach-back strategies to improve patient knowledge about their condition. One such method is specialized installed software that monitors patient room. According to Cassano, the patient education system utilizes several languages, with an educational content of a fifth grader, making it easy for the patient and their families to read and understand the materials provided. On the screen, the name of the clinician who will take care of them is displayed. The nurse welcomes the patients, and according to the patient diagnosis, he/she schedules the teaching sessions at their convenience. An important element about this technology is that information is updated daily to keep the patient informed about the whole process, tests, physicians attending their case and expected time of discharge. During the educational sessions, the nurse talks to the patient about their illness and uses the back-teach method to assess whether or not the patient understood and retained the information about their illness. The teach-back method also eliminates the issue of the language barrier, literacy levels, hearing impairment, and determines whether additional information is necessary.
The other interactive technology method is the adoption of mobile technology, an efficient tool in patient education, which has been implemented in several hospital settings. The technology involves the use of mobile-based applications, which enables patient education in a customized view to improve patient care and experience during their stay at the hospital (Morgan, Laing & McCarthy, 2015). Mostly, nurses go round the wards showing patients their diagnosis, with images on a tablet or Ipad. Through the use of videos and images, patients can easily visualize their illness. After a session of showing the patients the information regarding their illness, nurses then go back to the patient and ask them what they learned from the information.
Value of Best Evidence in Delivery of Nursing Care
Sometimes back, medics based healthcare delivery on trial and errors and what worked was passed on to the nurses and doctors. As time went by, nurses continued applying these methods because that was how they found things done. Nowadays, the healthcare sector has greatly evolved, and the value of research is highly recognized in care delivery. As it is, research allows the investigation to determine how well the intervention will work in both nursing and medicine (Stevens, 2013). In case research proves one intervention ineffective, it is abandoned for researched ones that are better for the patient. In particular, research in nursing is outcome-driven with the aim of getting the best outcomes for the patients. Use of best evidence in nursing means that nurses are not just consumers of research, but also have the ability to apply this knowledge in their delivery of care to patients.
Personal Experience with Patient Education Technology
Sometimes back during my volunteer programs, I went to a hospital, and the nurse manager was willing to task me with the responsibility of explaining to a cancer patient about their illness through their customized software that was used to monitor the patient room. The experience was thrilling to me having to show the patients their records and enhance their knowledge about their health and improved self-care. Luckily, for me, the patients were very cooperative and were already aware of previous health record information. The patient and the family members had predominantly positive experiences with transparency in health records and test results. For me, one of the positive aspects regarding this experience was the ability to show the patients their records as a way of empowering them and enhancing their contributions to their well-being. It was also one way another way of necessitating new skills to communicate and collaborate with patients. However, the experience had one negative aspect. Every record regarding the patient’s illness, diagnosis, and treatment plan were displayed, and there was no way I could hide it from them. One thing about cancer it is hard to predict the outcome and what medical providers do is giving the patients an idea of how things are likely to go. Besides, lab results are sometimes delayed, which makes it even harder for nurses to deal with cancer patients. Despite my knowledge about cancer result delays, I found it hard talking to the patient who preferred not to talk about it when I mentioned her results were yet to be released. I felt extremely bad that at such a time, and with all my caregiving skills, I could not do something for the patient to calm down their fears and anxiety as she was not open to talking to me. As a nurse, I have learned the importance of respecting a patient’s wish, and I had to walk away to the next patient. Dealing with cancer patients is hard, and especially when their lab results are delayed, it increases their anxiety. In future, I hope that technological advancements will allow for cancer results to be generated in the shortest time possible and interventions improved.
As we move forward, patient education and care delivery continue to evolve. New features will continue to be innovated and implemented. However, some of the basics such as the importance of patient education and use of best evidence in medical and nursing interventions will not change. In fact, new development will continue influencing nursing and healthcare in general. It is important for nurses to apply proper use and timing, as they are important in providing information to the patients. Similarly, standard practice, legal and ethical obligations must be observed and utilized when providing patient education for improved nursing practice. As it is research has proven that a knowledgeable patient is empowered to control and manage their illness even in the absence of professional caregivers.
Cassano, Christina. (n.d). Interactive Technology is Shaping Patient Education and Experience. Journal of Nursing. Retrieved from: http://rn-journal.com/journal-of-nursing/interactive-technology-patient-education-experience
Morgan, E. R., Laing, K., McCarthy, J., McCrate, F., & Seal, M. D. (2015). Using tablet-based technology in patient education about systemic therapy options for early-stage breast cancer: a pilot study. Current Oncology (toronto, Ont.), 22(5), pp. 364-369.
Stevens, K. R. (2013). The impact of evidence-based practice in nursing and the next big ideas. Online Journal of Issues in Nursing, 18(2): 4.
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