Pulse check: Video trends in patient education

Research suggests 40 to 60% of parents make errors in dosing their children’s medicine. Mistaking tsp for tablespoon (tbsp.) can mean giving a dose that is 3 times too big.

What if people could see the skill, such as dosing a medicine, being modeled the correct way? How might this reduce errors and improve patient safety?

Photo of Cindy Carson, National Director of Marketing and Business Development at Milner-Fenwick.

Cindy Carson, National Director of Marketing and Business Development at Milner-Fenwick discussed with us the benefits of video-based patient education.

Videos can do this.  With the explosive growth of online content videos (456.6 million watched in 2012), SurroundHealth recently spoke with Cindy Carson, National Director of Marketing and Business Development at Milner-Fenwick about converging trends in healthcare and how they are impacting video-based patient education.

In today’s digital world, video is expected and a preferred way to learn. 

Patients now expect visual modes of communication that they can access where and when they want.  Video allows us as educators to combine multiple learning modes. People have different styles of learning and video helps us combine different elements – kinetics, audio, visual, and graphic elements –  to make sure that, regardless of learning style, we’re able to get the information across in a way that patients find relevant and can understand.

When done right, video can help bridge communication gaps caused by low health literacy skills

Limited health literacy skills in our country contribute an estimated $106-$236 billion annually to the U.S. healthcare spending. Some of that expense comes from patients struggling to understand discharge directions, to take their medications the proper way, and with other various fundamental skills required to recover and stay healthy.  Video transcends some of those issues, including English-as-a-second-language.  Videos, when scripted at a 6th grade language level, can explain and show the skills being discussed.  Visually, videos can clarify complicated medical terms and break down information into understandable, bite-size pieces.

SmartPhones, iPads and EHR:  Extending patient education videos beyond closed circuit TVs in hospitals

We’ve certainly seen a push for access to educational videos beyond the hospital walls and reaching patients at all points of need through a variety of mobile devices. With our app, HealthClips Rx, providers can select and prescribe video-based health education. Not having to rely on active Wi-Fi connection also helps providers get around a common obstacle within hospitals – Wi Fi “dead zones.”  An exciting trend is the ability to create an interactive platform that reports back into an EMR.  Down the road, we can analyze massive amounts of data and look at what education is working or needs to be revised.  If patients have questions about the same point in content, we can go back and rework that.  Tracking will also help validate the impact that the education is having by tying health outcomes to the educational content patients have been exposed to.

“Now, through technology, we can leverage the heck out of the patient education videos and get them to people any way that they want or need them.”

Connecting video-based education with telehealth and remote monitoring

We are watching the telehealth and remote monitoring trends where patients in rural areas have access to physicians through Web communications that are video-based. Patients can talk back and forth with their doctors about treatment options.  Video-based education can be funneled right into these interactive systems so that that a patient in a remote situation has access to the same education as the patient who would come to the doctor’s office.

Patient-centric care + Technology + Need to reduce preventable hospital readmission = Expanded use of patient education videos

I look at today’s trends in video-based health education as being three-fold.  Technology is one of the forces. The other is patient-centric care and that is driving a lot of what we do here not just in the video scripting but in the delivery and in the content development area.  We are developing care pathways of education, based on national guideline recommendations and a team of expert consultants, to meet the needs of patient education and support. The third driving force is the Affordable Care Act and the different penalties that have come up around preventable hospital readmission rates and the incentives for Meaningful Use. Hospitals are being compelled hospitals to rethink their education models of how and what they’re delivering.

Milner-Fenwick recently published a report related to these regulatory goals, The Right Patient Education Tools: Strategies to Improve Health Outcomes and Meet Regulatory Goals.

This blog was contributed by Susan Collins, MS, CHES, RD, SurroundHealth Community Leader.

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