Patient Engagement and Partnerships in Healthcare. This lesson explores consumer information and education needs and considers how patient engagement and connected health technologies, including new trends in wearable technology, may help to meet those needs, yet at the same time create ever increasing demands for health-related information.
People want to be in the know as evidenced by a near obsession with social media. People demand news and information, and they want immediate results and unlimited access. This is increasingly true with health information. However, this trend in instant access communication is not one-sided. The use of Twitter allows the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) the opportunity to communicate rapidly with a wide audience of engaged users. CDC utilizes the CDC.gov and eHealth profiles to promote the monthly topics. The CDC.gov profile is used to share information on the report, important statistics and prevention tips. The CDC eHealth profile promotes social media tools related to the topic such as videos, eCards and podcasts. In fact, the CDC has developed several integrated social media campaigns, including campaigns for the CDC Vital Signs, novel H1N1 flu event, the Salmonella Typhimurium outbreak associated with peanut butter and peanut-containing products, as well as annual seasonal influenza vaccination campaigns. Each campaign integrates innovative social media products with research-driven strategies to ensure that CDC protects and promotes the health of diverse audiences.
More and more people, in a trend known as consumer empowerment, patient engagement, and connected health, are interested in partnering with healthcare providers to take control of their health. These patients are not satisfied being dependent on a healthcare provider to supply them with the information they need to manage their health. Instead, they are increasingly embracing electronic technologies such as patient portals offering current and past health statuses, lab results, and secure messaging with providers; social media interactions; health-related games; wearable technologies for tracking health; and health management applications (apps).
New technologies to improve patient monitoring include wearable technology (devices) and wireless area networks, variously called “body area networks” or “patient area networks.” The technologies provide the ability to wear a small, unobtrusive monitor that collects and transmits physiologic data via a cell phone to a server for clinician review. Although most of these technologies are designed for monitoring patients with chronic diseases, they also have safety implications because they help to identify early warning physiologic signs of impeding serious health events.
Patients are increasingly looking to be partners with their healthcare providers in managing their health challenges and maintaining a level of wellness. All healthcare professionals need to be prepared to listen to the ideas of patients about their personal health and, at the same time, provide direction toward credible health information supplied by electronic provider portals on the Internet.
Patient-Care Information Technology: Nursing Informatics
Technology and the informatics skills required to support patient care is growing exponentially, and its applications are limited only by one’s imagination. Applications range from the relatively “low tech” to extremely complicated. Consider some of the following examples already in use that serve to save labor and supply information that supports care and documentation.