Archive for April, 2010

Computer-based Patient-education Program

April 12, 2010

Given the enormous financial strains on the health care system, and the time constraints of health care providers institutions are seeking to find innovative and cost effective ways of reducing tasks like patient education.  Leading health care centers, many dealing with cancer patients such as Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, have taken the first steps by using computer-based learning tools.  They have documented initial success in implementing an extensive computer-based education program. Their program consists of a CD-ROM education program, an internal interactive intranet site that contains education about cancer, has library resources, and Internet links, etc. for patients to access. 

The advantages are significant and health institutions everywhere are becoming involved with alternate methods of providing and reinforcing patient education.  Obvious advantages include the quality and consistency of the information provided to the patient, the ability to access education and information independently; provide training in the language of the patient, as well cost savings to the institution.  Disadvantages are the readiness and literacy of the learner, and the inability to interact with the patient at the time questions arise. Some would argue that the disadvantages are fewer than we currently experience, given the lack of caregiver time and consistency and quality of information imparted.

There is no doubt that we will continue to move forward with computer assisted patient education in much the same way as we have with our staff development and training.  Our institution is small compared to the major centers utilizing this resource for patient education.  However, we too, have embraced the practice of CD-ROM and computer based education at our Cancer Center.  Though manned by staff trained to educate patients, we have a resource center with CD’s, interactive patient education videos and an entire resource library for the patients to access.  The union of technology and patient education is upon us and, for the most part, appears to be a win-win situation.  Our challenge, moving forward, will be to find ways to reach and capture all patients, regardless of their status.

Health Promotion/Disease Prevention Online Class

Patient Education & Counseling Online Class

Health Care Informatics Online Certificate Program

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Evaluation in Patient Education

April 12, 2010

Chapter 3 of the text, The Practice of Patient Education, A Case Study Approach discusses evaluation in patient education.  The text provides many excellent concepts and tools for the health educator to draw upon when evaluating the effectiveness of the education for the learner.  The importance of evaluating patient education programs cannot be underestimated.  The goals of improving patient outcomes must be evident for education programs to continue exist. 

Certified programs that provide patient education for management of diseases such as diabetes and COPD must collect and document extensive data on an ongoing basis.  The data is used to demonstrate the effectiveness of the program based on the outcomes of the patient over time.  Quality patient data is required for maintaining programs and recertification’s. If the objectives of the program are not met and demonstrated by improved outcomes, the program may not be re-certified.  Certified patient education programs, such as Outpatient Diabetes Education, are often required by Medicare and Insurances in order to be paid for the education.  The incentive for effective teaching is patient outcomes oriented, in part, so that the program can financially sustain itself.

The use of data collection tools and electronic tracking of outcomes is now the standard of practice.  There are many tools available to assist with data collection.  While browsing the intranet I came across the Stanford Patient Education Website, http://patienteducation.stanford.edu/research/.  It contains several patient evaluation tools that, due to a grant, are available for use by interested persons.  Tools for evaluating education regarding diabetes and COPD programs are available in English and in Spanish.  This resource could be very valuable to patient educators who are interested in either validating the tools they currently use or developing others to assess the effectiveness of their patient education.

Health Promotion/Disease Prevention Online Class

Patient Education & Counseling Online Class

Health Care Informatics Online Certificate Program

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