Website spotlight: Nurses harness patient engagement tools to educate and empower patients

Staff Development Weekly: Insight on Evidence-Based Practice in Education, May 18, 2012

By Gary Kolbeck, President of LodgeNet Healthcare

Until recently, patients at the four hospitals operated by NorthShore University HealthSystem (NorthShore) in Chicago's northern suburbs were given standard printed educational material about their medical condition or scheduled surgery. It was clear to nurses, however, that some of their patients did not read or understand the information. Recognizing that this knowledge is essential for patients to become active participants in their own care and achieve the best possible clinical outcome, the nursing staff did their best to identify and fill in the gaps, but they recognized it wasn't an ideal situation. This led the health system to implement a new patient engagement solution across its four hospitals that is designed to improve nursing efficiency, communication, clinical outcomes, and overall patient satisfaction. The program helps patients:

  • Become involved in their medical care during and after their hospital stay
  • Feel more in control of their situation
  • Optimize their hospital experience

Improving learning and retention

When patients are admitted, they often are worried, frightened, nervous, emotional, or stunned, especially after learning they have a serious medical condition. Not surprisingly, they often have difficulty grasping important medical information and recommendations. To overcome these problems, NorthShore wanted a patient engagement solution that could capture patients' attention and then educate, empower, and encourage them to become actively involved in their care.

The health system purchased an interactive television system that allows nurses to prescribe videos that patients can view on their in-room TVs, which helps introduce them to the facility and their personal care team, as well provides them with safety information. Patients can watch specially selected videos about their condition and post-discharge treatment regimen. Patients can watch the videos as often as they want, whenever they like, and they are encouraged to ask their nurses and healthcare providers questions, which improves comprehension and retention.

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