At its most basic, when patients want to participate in their own healthcare outcomes, they’ll need to know what helpful actions they should take—which can range from physical therapy to taking prescribed medications—as well as which ones not to take, which could, as an example, involve avoiding certain foods.
Besides the “what” and “what not” components, quality education also includes the “why” of it all, particularly in changes that a person should make to optimize outcomes. As an article in Psychology Today notes, “We’re simply far more likely to accept a change if we understand the reason for it. Interestingly, our acceptance seems to hinge less on how much we like the reason and more on how much sense the reason makes to us.”
Using food as an example, let’s say that a doctor is helping a patient manage blood pressure for better heart health. That patient may not like to hear that certain foods should be limited but, once they clearly understand why that’s important, they’re more likely to accept that lifestyle change.
Here’s a more specific example, one used in a study published by the National Institutes of Health (NIH). There is, the study notes, “irrefutable convincing evidence for the benefit of exercise in improving clinical outcomes in metabolic disorders, coronary heart disease, and heart failure.”
So, healthcare professionals possess this knowledge. To fully leverage the power of this information, though, patients must understand and act on it; in other words, they need to have enhanced health literacy. Plus, they need a sense of “self-efficacy,” which means that they believe they have the ability to succeed in their goals—in this example, to follow the exercise recommendations to improve their health outcomes.
Immense Potential for Improved Outcomes
This same study notes how, in the early 1990s, about 50 percent of the mortality rate in the United States was premature—in many cases, because of lifestyle choices. In fact, about 80 percent of these premature deaths were connected to low physical activity or tobacco use or dietary choices. Each of these situations has the potential to be improved upon through education and through empowering patients to focus on boosting their health and wellbeing.
To most effectively provide education to patients, especially in cases where health literacy is limited, NIH recommends the following:
- Avoid medical jargon.
- Answer patient questions.
- Use “teach back” methods where patients explain their understanding of a situation so that their education can be furthered (in other words, use interactive patient education).
If all of this is so clear, why isn’t it happening more? A key factor: limited time of busy physicians and other healthcare professionals.
Limited Education Time
According to a February 2020 study in The American Journal of Medicine, approximately half of practicing physicians are experiencing burnout, which results in lower quality of care and worse outcomes, overall, among other challenges. (Note the date of the study. This isn’t even taking into account the stress that COVID has placed on our overall medical system.) Plus, the study shares how large physician shortages are projected, which is “another cause for concern.”
To sum up so far:
- Interactive patient education can significantly improve patient outcomes.
- Overworked physicians often experience burnout, which reduces quality of care and worsens overall patient outcomes.
- A projected physician shortage and the effects of COVID will likely make the challenges associated with physician burnout even more substantial.
The solution? Quality patient education software.
Benefits of a Patient Education Platform
A high quality patient education platform provides patients and their families with the information that’s needed to improve their health literacy; boost their self efficacy; and, to paraphrase Norman Cousins in an Anatomy of an Illness, allow each patient to use the doctor they carry inside to more fully participate in their own healthcare outcomes.
Having the right patient education software allows healthcare organizations to provide patients with customized materials that dovetail with their current levels of health literacy to improve upon that literacy. With targeted educational materia, patients can get answers to their questions in ways they understand and connect with providers without frustrating delays, which in turn allows them to participate in their own healthcare processes.
Patient education software can also prepare patients to have productive conversations with their healthcare providers, further enhancing their health literacy and their ability for effective decision making. This streamlines the process for busy physicians, allowing them to focus on filling in literacy gaps to provide premier healthcare.
Interactive Patient Education Software: Journey PX
Journey PX is an educational platform that empowers healthcare facilities to consistently and effectively educate patients by providing precisely the information they need, right when they need it. Journey PX is a modern solution: easy to use, interactive, customizable, and intuitively structured.
Your facilities can seamlessly integrate this technology into your existing EMR, EHR, and ADT applications. This powerful integration means that your healthcare teams can continue to use Journey PX as patients get transferred within your facility.
You can extend the software’s reach, too, by using this platform to provide education at a patient’s home before a procedure and/or after a hospital stay through emails and text messaging. Overall, this technologically delivered information can reduce patient calls, visits, and admissions.
Plus, Journey PX comes with an easily searchable patient education library. Medical staff can review up to date library content before prescribing treatments and they can insert customized health information into a patient’s record to monitor health-related changes and for future reference.
In sum, Journey PX is a robust, affordable, scalable, interactive patient education software that enables you to offer the ultimate patient experience.
MDM for Your Patient Education Software
Besides offering this outstanding software, MDM Commercial offers professional services to set your organization up with this new technology. Our experienced team will incorporate the Journey PX interactive patient education platform according to your unique needs and budget. To discuss your requirements, please contact us online or call 1-800-359-6741.