Computers and Patient Education


Computers have become an amazing resource for patient teaching.  They provide wonderful resources for printed patient education as well as become a source of learning for the patients themselves.  When we can reach our patients in more than one aspect of learning we increase the amount of teaching that they will retain. 

Many hospitals and doctors offices subscribe to patient education programs.  This allows the nurse to provide exactly what the patient needs to know regarding their diagnosis.  The advantage to these types of programs is that they are from professionals who ensure correct patient information.  Getting patient information randomly off the Internet can result in unreliable information.  These programs are also updated so the healthcare professional can ensure the patient is getting the latest information.

Patients can also access electronic learning.  This can include learning from videos or DVDs or listening to a podcast.  Not all patients are proficient with these technologies while others prefer to learn this way.  Patients can also receive e-mails from their healthcare providers and access patient support groups through blogs and chat rooms.

Limiting our patient education to printed material only is limiting the many ways our patients can learn.  A careful assessment of patient learning needs, access and knowledge of technology and preferred methods of learning can enhance the patient’s learning experience.


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