The notion of patient education has always been one of the most important aspects of modern healthcare. The importance of this aspect of care has repeatedly been proven. Back in the day, the researchers had identified a dependency between the treatment areas (such as asthma, hormone therapy, and even erectile dysfunction) and successful patient outcomes. By means of effective patient education, nurses are able to share certain information with their patients and assist them in controlling their disease. Other aspects of patient education are increased compliance and patient empowerment. All of the items mentioned above are intended to simplify the treatment process and increase the number of successful patient outcomes. During the 1990s, research on the health policies of that time showed that patient education is an effective instrument that can be used to save huge sums of money (Gold, Street, & Manning, 2013).
Initially, the idea of communicating the health conditions to the patients appeared in the 1950s, when numerous American veterans were released from hospitals. Since that event, the notion of patient education has changed significantly. Nonetheless, the biggest transformation can be described as a shift from the professional authoritarian environment to the patient-centered care and empowering treatment approaches. In other words, the current notion of patient education emphasizes the idea that the decisions regarding treatment plans should be made collaboratively. In perspective, this approach is useful because it allows the patients and the nurses to prevent diseases instead of curing them. One of the most vivid examples of patient education is when a patient with a grave illness is encouraged to be engaged in the treatment process instead of giving up because of progressive disease or eventual death. The key objective of patient education is to help the patients to invest in their own health and improve the quality of their lives. In the modern world, this task can be performed with the use of special technologies.
Examples and Main Features
The applications that are considered to be helpful in terms of patient education can be characterized as the programs based on patient-nurse partnership. This collaboration and decision-making process majorly depends on the patients’ preferences and requirements. The main feature of these applications is that they are developed to support the patients’ motivation and their contribution to the treatment process. Another key feature of the patient education applications is that they ensure the connection between the medical and non-medical sectors in addition to the specific healthcare tools. There are numerous examples of patient education applications that involve a variety of communication channels. The most prevalent means of patient education are mobile devices, web-based applications, and monitoring gadgets (Wallace, Clark, & White, 2012). For instance, a telemonitoring system for patients with asthma is one of the educational programs that involve the use of information technologies.
This application provides patients with custom information regarding their daily routine and treatment of asthma. There are numerous other examples of health education software that may be able to highlight the potential of web-based applications. One of the key features that are often overlooked by healthcare specialists is the possibility to develop complex problem-solving tools and applying interactive methods to the data gathering process. This is helpful for certain groups of patients, which may include HIV patients or similar patient groups that are in need of expanding their knowledge base concerning the disease. Nonetheless, there are other areas that also favor the use of patient-centered applications throughout the treatment process. These areas may include diabetes, asthma, and a variety of pulmonary diseases. The use of mobile devices is commonly limited by treatment practices, but the existing health promotion applications are aimed at vaccinations and smoking cessation. During the last decade, a number of entries dwelled on the impact of iPods and MP3 players on the treatment process and promotion of healthy activities (Denizard-Thompson & Singh, 2012).
Personal Experience and its Positive and Negative Aspects
From my personal experience, I can tell that building positive relationships with the staff and family members is one of the most important factors contributing to successful patient outcomes and a simplified treatment process. The application of information technologies hugely affects the process of enabling interactive programs within the framework of healthcare and visibly improves the quality of care. Moreover, I am able to suppose that a patient that is truly motivated to contribute to the treatment process will be able to control their lifestyle and apply the obtained knowledge properly. The bond that is created between the patient and healthcare provider throughout the use of education technologies will help the patient to engage in the process of treatment (Free et al., 2013).
The key positive aspect of efficient patient education applications is their usability. Especially, this is relevant for the mobile health systems as their popularity grows daily. This aspect is considered to be pivotal due to the patients’ perceptions of the application design and features (Free et al., 2013). The latter is usually based on the contextual characteristics of mobile applications that help the process of disease management and promote healthy activities. When it comes to the efficiency of the developed application, it is evaluated on the basis of a number of additional factors that include user-friendliness of the application, user’s confidence when interacting with the app, and user’s competence when it comes to information technologies (Free et al., 2013). For the most part, the most positive aspect of patient education applications can be described as a combination of a friendly interface, appealing and intuitive design, and agility. The key focus is made on the user’s perception and contentment. Regardless, there is also a negative aspect that consists of the adverse impact of errors on the end-users’ interaction with other individuals and their concepts of self-perception (Free et al., 2013). This means that the eminence of the existing applications is rather questionable due to the lack of error reports, diagnostic accuracy, and data security.
Various innovations are intended to help extend knowledge in the field. In the face of this definite mission, the future of the patient education technologies remains unclear but optimistic. In the future, healthcare facilities are expected to use various applications even more. For instance, these applications can be used to support terminally ill patients or those who are coping with grave stages of their disease. The fact is, patient education apps represent a perfect opportunity to build connections and collaborate successfully. The information is transferred to the patients in a convenient and comprehensible manner. The existing literature supports the claim that the use of information technologies in healthcare positively impacts patient outcomes on the individual and financial levels.
Denizard-Thompson, N. R., Singh, S., Stevens, S. R., Miller, D. P., & Wofford, J. L. (2011). IPod™ technology for teaching patients about anticoagulation: A pilot study of mobile computer-assisted patient education. Primary Health Care Research & Development, 13(1), 42-47. Web.
Free, C., Phillips, G., Galli, L., Watson, L., Felix, L., Edwards, P.,… Haines, A. (2013). The effectiveness of mobile-health technology-based health behaviour change or disease management interventions for health care consumers: A systematic review. PLoS Medicine, 10(1), 45-59. Web.
Gold, W. R., Street, R. L., & Manning, T. (2013). Health promotion and interactive technology: Theoretical applications and future directions. New York, NY: Routledge.
Wallace, S., Clark, M., & White, J. (2012). ‘It’s on my iPhone’: Attitudes to the use of mobile computing devices in medical education, a mixed-methods study. BMJ Open, 2(4), 57-64. Web.