Nowadays, information technology in the healthcare system provides the foundation for the future. The significance of modernization can be seen in retrospective by comparing healthcare provision now and thirty years ago. Most of these years were devoted to the development of computer technologies that improved patient care, whereas, for the past several years, a major emphasis has been placed on the clinical process (Patmon, Gee, Rylee, & Readdy, 2016). Currently, technological advancements in clinical applications are and will be the primary focus in healthcare for at least a decade.
Healthcare information technologies appeared with the development of computers at the beginning of the 1970s. However, at that time, they were not broadly accepted by medical facilities. Only in the 1990s, when personal computers became available, the information technologies were beginning to be used (Patmon et al., 2016). Although technological advancements were implemented nearly thirty years ago, their usage in clinical patient care began only ten years ago.
The implementation of information technologies started from different departments needed to accelerate the process of treatment to provide better outcomes. The first automated systems were used in laboratories, pharmacy, and radiology. Then, they were quickly adopted by other departments and eventually, other countries all over the world (Cassano, 2014). Thus, information technologies have significantly improved patient care since their implementation.
The Role of Innovative Information Technologies in Patient Education
With the development of information technologies, patient education has also considerably changed for the past thirty years. Traditional patient education focuses on giving patients written descriptions about diseases, instructions on what medicines to use and how to do that, and guidelines on the techniques about self-care (Cassano, 2014). The introduction of innovative technologies has noticeably improved the traditional approach and made a few changes to it.
Nowadays, patients can get education from a variety of sources including mobile devices, television, internet resources, videos, audiobooks, and others. In general, interactive technology is an effective and innovative healthcare model that provides entertainment and educational resources to patients on the assumption of them being more involved in the process of treatment and, as a result, receiving a positive experience. Moreover, this model of interactive technologies used to deliver care includes various services such as medication teaching and pain management that are designed to satisfy patients’ needs. According to the studies conducted by The Beryl Institute, interactive technologies are highly efficient in communicating with patients and increasing their overall satisfaction by almost 50% (Hull, 2015).
Examples of Innovative Technologies
The utilization of personalized patient information along with the support provided by nurses will increase patients’ understanding and knowledge regarding their health issues. A vivid example of this is a specialized program installed on the computer inside the ward. This software supports many languages and contains information about various illnesses (Roberts, Chaboyer, Gonzalez, & Marshall, 2017). The information is presented in a simplified form so that patients and their families could understand the material.
The computer also has the function of greeting patients when they enter the ward. On the screen, the names of all the clinicians that will provide healthcare to the patient appear. After that, the nurse comes into the ward, and depending on the diagnosis, discusses the schedule of the teaching lessons with the patient (Roberts et al., 2017). Thus, the patient is involved in the education process from the very beginning.
The software is updated every day, thereby providing relevant information concerning the overall process of hospital stay, the estimated time to discharge, the tests that the patient needs to do, and the appointments with the physician. After discussing the schedule, the nurse uses the teach-back strategy to evaluate the patient’s level of comprehension (Patmon et al., 2016). Additionally, when asking questions, the nurse takes into account hearing impairments, literacy level, and language barriers and depending on the answers, determines whether the additional education is needed.
Recently, various mobile devices such as IPads, smartphones, and tablets have begun to be used as interactive technologies in multiple healthcare organizations. Currently, many applications improve patient education and allow presenting information in a customized form, which is important for providing better patient care. Thus, during their rounds, nurses use tablets or smartphones to show various images and explain to patients their diagnosis (Cassano, 2014). In their turn, the patients can see the pictures along with the information about the disease and visualize the processes that are happening inside of them.
The main goal of the use of these mobile devices is to make difficult medical information more accessible to patients using diagrams, pictures, and videos. Another example of using these devices is in cosmetic surgery. Doctors show people who want cosmetic surgery the pictures of other people who have already done it so that those people would know how they will look like after the operation (Cassano, 2014). One more vivid example adopted by some hospitals is the use of the mobile application called “Survey on the Spot” which allows patients to provide feedback about the staff and the quality of its service.
Another application developed by Twin Cities Community Hospital serves as a guide that assists patients in learning important materials about the hospital including the information about physicians, time waits for different departments, contact numbers, health libraries, and so on (Hull, 2015). There is also an application created by the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota which provides comprehensive information regarding various illnesses accompanied by illustrative examples and a guide for checking symptoms. Another application was created by Cleveland Clinic and focuses on the accomplishments and history of the clinic accompanied by photos and videos.
An Example from Personal Experience
A couple of years ago, I visited my aunt at one of the hospitals in New York. When I was sitting in the ward, a doctor and a nurse came in and examined my aunt. They assessed the level of severity of the illness. She had jaundice. Then I saw the nurse offering my aunt a tablet describing the information about the disease and some pictures. In some time, the nurse returned and asked my aunt what she had learned, thereby determining her level of understanding of what was happening to her. In general, it was a good method to educate patients, but the nurse could have also provided some videos and smartphone applications concerning the problem.
In my opinion, the strategy of using innovative technologies in patient education is very effective and should be adopted by all hospitals. The reason for this is that it improves the overall patient care and the emotional state of patients, as they understand what they suffer from. This was a positive experience for me, and I think that more innovations should be integrated into healthcare.
Thus, the integration of innovative technologies into patient care is considered an effective and positive approach. The main reason for this is that patients are informed about diseases they suffer from and can understand the processes that happen inside them. Thus, it improves overall patient care. Additionally, these technologies include entertainment that makes the hospital stay for patients less stressful. In terms of my nursing care, I am determined to use as many innovative technologies in it as possible, as I think that they improve the overall quality of healthcare.
Cassano, C. (2014). The right balance – technology and patient care. Online Journal of Nursing Informatics, 18(3), 16-29.
Hull, S. C. (2015). Using technology to engage patients. American Nurse Today, 10(9), 45-57.
Patmon, F. L., Gee, P. M., Rylee, T. L., & Readdy, N. L. (2016). Using interactive patient engagement technology in clinical practice: A qualitative assessment of nurses’ perceptions. Journal of Medical Internet Research, 18(11), 211-232.
Roberts, S., Chaboyer, W., Gonzalez, R., & Marshall, A. (2017). Using technology to engage hospitalised patients in their care: A realist review. BMC Health Services Research, 17(1), 388-394.