Computer based education programs

Computer based education for patients is a unique way to try and bridge the gap on health disparities.  Many patients are seen in a diverse population that are not understanding their medical care.  For example, the doctor enters the room quickly bolts out the diagnosis and a prescription for a new medication and leaves the room.  Often I have seen this happen and the patients are left confused.  I have even had a patient say, “I didn’t understand one word the doctor said”.  I inquired why he didn’t ask the doctor to repeat himself or explain in a different manner, but he didn’t have an answer.  Often times, nurses are incorporated in the education of a patient and discharge instructions.

When a patient comes from a different cultural background than the doctor or nurse, it may be more challenging to teach them.  Some cultures have a tremendous amount of respect towards doctors: to not interrupt, argue, say no, or challenge them.  Others simply nod and say yes to everything, come to learn they speak not one word of English.  There are many more challenges when it comes to varying cultures, but to be able to provide education in a language that suits the patient, with a representative from their country on the computer, taking into account their cultural needs would be an excellent tool.  If the patients are not ready to learn in the hospital setting, providing access  to the information online when they are home and feeling better would be another benefit to computer based education.

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