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Producing Patient Education Material in India: Opportunities & Challenges

Producing Patient Education Material in India: Opportunities & Challenges | Patient Power |
“Effective patient education ensures that patients have sufficient information and understanding to make informed decisions regarding their care.” American Academy of Family Physicians’ Guidelines ...
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Patient Safety Starts with Hello

Patient Safety Starts with Hello | Patient Power |

In all social settings, introductions can immediately put you at ease with strangers while missing that early opportunity can produce the opposite effect. A study on hospital intern behavior reveals some unfortunate tendencies when it comes to your patient comfort and health outcome. See if your hospital providers follow these strategies on your next visit.

Awkward.  It’s that odd feeling you get when you’re talking to a friend in the market and a person you don’t know greets your friend warmly and begins a conversation.  The longer the conversation continues without introducing or involving you; the more uncomfortable you become.  Eventually, you tap your friend on the arm indicating you need to go about your shopping while giving a nod or an awkward smile to the stranger talking with your friend.

Your friend probably didn’t intend to make you uncomfortable but they missed a great opportunity to introduce and include you.  They probably weren’t aware of your body language because of their sidebar conversation.  You immediately felt like the outsider and naturally fled your uneasiness.  Some would even call your friend’s behavior, rude!

What if this happens when you’re a patient and you can’t flee your hospital bed?

A recent study at Johns Hopkins observed five key social practice strategies among interns (junior doctors) during 700+ patient encounters (Block, et al., 2013).  The five proven strategies for improving health outcomes included:

1. Introducing one’s self;
2. Explaining one’s role in the patient’s care;
3. Touching the patient (human contact);
4. Asking open-ended questions; and
5. Sitting down with the patient.

Interns introduced themselves to patients about 40% of the time.  If you’re the patient or family member at the bedside you may be feeling uncomfortable already.  Interns only explained their role to 37% of patients.  But they touched 2 out of 3 patients and were better at open-ended questions, using them with 75% of their patients.  Don’t expect your intern to sit during their visit though, less than 1 in 10 demonstrated this behavior.  Only 4% exhibited all 5 key strategies during a patient encounter (Block, et al., 2013).  Why wouldn’t we consider rude in a healthcare setting what we consider rude in the market?

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Promoting Patient Education with Social Media

Promoting Patient Education with Social Media | Patient Power |

Kevin Pho, MD, is perhaps the most recognized physician voice in social media. Pho, more commonly known as KevinMD, has an online audience of more than 100,000 between his blog, Facebook, Twitter and RSS (really simple syndication) feed.

A primary care physician at Nashua (N.H.) Medical Group, Pho recently spoke with Curaspan Connections about how social media has emerged as a tool to help health-care providers communicate with their patients.

Curaspan: Why should health-care providers care about social media?

Kevin Pho: There is a tremendous opportunity to communicate information that is helpful to patients. With social media, physicians now have a platform to correct some of the misconceptions that may be out there in a way that reaches a wide patient audience. I look at this as an opportunity for data curation. We’re able to pull aside the curtain and show what’s behind some of the stories patients may be hearing. Clearly, social media is changing the way patients receive information.

How does a provider get started?

You can start with a blog, like I did, and then use some of the newer applications like Facebook and Twitter to drive awareness and traffic to your blog. I think if someone is going to get started, he would need to be someone who is passionate about what is happening in the health-care space and willing to take the time to get the information out there.

Is it time-consuming?

It takes a commitment when you get up at 4 a.m. every day. I spend two to three hours a day on it, very early, then again at night. That’s why so few doctors are actively blogging. Who has the time? But I look at this as building a digital footprint, preparing for the future. When I first started blogging in 2004, physician blogs were in their infancy. But you’re starting to see more of a physician voice now. I’m glad to have been out there early.

What inspired you to start your blog?

Patient education. There’s a lot of misinformation out there, and I think it’s important to steer patients to the right information. My patients would see something on TV and wonder, “How does this affect me?” They’d see a new study and ask the same question. Not everything was being reported, and there were questions. I recognized there was a huge opportunity to pull aside the curtain, and I wanted to do something about it.

There are a lot of things that can be fixed with health care, and physicians need a platform to express themselves. The good news is that we’re now parlaying this from a social media platform to mainstream media.

You were interviewed by CBS Evening News. What kind of impact has that had?

That really legitimized the voice of the physician blogger and gave us credibility. In the past, sources of information were only academic medical centers. This legitimized what we’re doing and made it trustworthy. I think there’s a recognition now that the physician blogging voice is a good source of information.

Can you share some specific issues you’ve addressed?

Back in 2004, when Merck recalled Vioxx, I got a lot of calls from patients asking “What do I do?” This got me thinking that there were a lot of questions out there and the news was changing every day. I thought there was a need for a physician voice. And as you look around today, there are new sets of questions.

Health-care reform. How does it affect doctors? How does it affect patients? There is such a wide spectrum of opinions, and I present both sides. Another area of concern for patients was the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommendation about the timing of breast cancer screening. I wanted to present the facts in the right context.

What I do is guide patients to reputable sources of information. I can’t give out personal medical advice. My goal is to help educate.

Has your notoriety helped attract new patients?

The feedback has been very positive. We’re a hospital-owned practice and I’ve been written up in the local newspaper. I don’t directly use my blog to market the practice but locally, if someone is new to town and types “New Hampshire doctors” into search, I’m there. This is not the majority, but it’s laying groundwork for the future.

How so?

We’re laying the foundation for years down the road when everyone is using Google to find a doctor. Typically, health care trends a few years behind what’s happening in the marketplace. One tip I’ve always had is to look at what’s happening in other areas, spot those trends and see how I can apply it to what I’m doing. This is an exciting time. In health care, there’s something new every day and I’m glad to be in a position to help educate patients.

So where is this all going?

I see a social media network for health-care providers. You’re finding doctors on Facebook now, but it’s their personal pages. There is no killer site for health-care providers. I do think that in three to five years health-care professionals will adopt this en masse. I’m sure someone is working on it now, because it’s approaching a tipping point.

One of the things you’ll see in the future is less siloing of social media. You won’t see someone so focused on a blog, Facebook or Twitter. In general, this will all come together in one social media presence. The key is to get it on as many platforms as possible.


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Two-minute health literacy test for patients might improve doctor communication

Two-minute health literacy test for patients might improve doctor communication | Patient Power |

Doctors often assume they're explaining things in a way patients understand. When patients are confused, doctors don't always realize it. A new study shows patients might benefit from having their "health literacy" tested.

Researchers at a large Arizona healthcare center looked at how a short health literacy test would affect the way patients felt about their treatment. They found it did no harm and may have helped to improve patient satisfaction.

"The main benefit of doing health literacy assessments is simply to make clinicians aware that there are patients with limited health literacy in their practice," said lead author Ian Komenaka at the Maricopa Medicine Center in Phoenix, Arizona.

"Most clinicians assume patients understand everything but this is frequently not the case. Patients may not realize they don't quite understand, or even when they know they don't understand, they are afraid or ashamed to tell the clinician," he told Reuters Health in an email.

Health literacy - the ability to understand and use health information - depends on individual skills and also on the complexity of the health information being presented.

People with lower health literacy, for example, might not know how to take their medications or why they have to follow specific doctor's instructions.

In 2003, a U.S. government study found that 89 million Americans had limited health literacy skills and they came from all segments of society.

"Patients with low or limited health literacy have poor outcomes from a number of disease processes which results in increased costs to society," Komenaka said.

But the tests have to be short and simple, so that patients don't feel badly about being tested or not performing well.

Health literacy tests aren't often done because most of the available ones take on average 8 to 22 minutes, Komenaka said. In addition, the tests can make patients feel ashamed when they don't know the answers.

When patients feel bad about these assessments, they might feel bad about the whole patient experience, or at least that's the concern of most clinics. Previous studies indicate patients will accept health literacy assessments, but those studies were all small and did not include minorities, Komenaka and his colleagues write in the journal Surgery.

The team wanted to know if shorter health literacy tests could be done in a busy clinic and how they would impact patient satisfaction. They used an assessment tool called the Newest Vital Signs (NVS), which only takes an average of two minutes.

For two years, all patients seen at a Phoenix breast surgery clinic were given the test during the course of their routine medical visits.

They were shown a nutrition label, just like the ones on most packaged foods. Then an interviewer asked them five questions about that label in either Spanish or English, depending on the patient's preference. One point was given for each correct answer. Total scores of 4 - 6 indicated adequate health literacy and scores below 4 meant possible limited health literacy.

A total of 2,025 women took part in the study and 391 participants had scores of 4 or higher. More than half - 1,229 women - scored between 0 and 1 and 405 women had a score of 2 or 3.

In separate surveys, patients were also asked to rate their overall satisfaction with their visits to the clinic on a scale of 1 to 5, both during the year before the NVS assessment was used and during the two-year study period. The average satisfaction rating the year before the study was 3.7. During the first year the assessments were used, the ranking rose slightly to 3.8, and went up to 4.1 the second year.

These results indicate the assessment procedure did not appear to have a negative impact on patient satisfaction, according to Komenaka's team.

The study did not determine why patient satisfaction actually rose, or whether clinicians changed their behavior with patients as a result of the testing.

But in 2011, the study's second year, the clinic made a formal effort to better communicate with patients with literacy scores between 0 and 2. These included using diagrams and informational videos, instead of text, to explain how treatments and procedures like biopsies would be done. Special efforts were also made to repeat key "take home" messages and information while talking with patients.

Because the study included only women, it's not clear if the results would be similar for men, Komenaka's team cautions.

According to Cindy Brach of the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, addressing health literacy can be valuable, but the tests shouldn't make doctors overconfident.

"We know that people with limited health literacy are less likely to use preventive services and manage their conditions and more likely to have unnecessary hospital admissions or visits to the emergency department," Brach told Reuters Health in an email.

"Everyone benefits from clear communication and we can't really tell - even with assessments - who is not understanding at any given time. My concern with assessment is that then health care providers think those who test as adequate health literacy are always understanding, when this is unlikely to be the case," Brach said

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Making Patient Experience a Priority [INFOGRAPHIC]

Making Patient Experience a Priority [INFOGRAPHIC] | Patient Power |

Strong patient engagement leads to lower readmissions, increased reimbursements, and a better quality of life for the patient.


Key Takeaways

- 36% of patients don't get the lab tests, specialist referrals, or follow-up care they need

- 1 in 5 Medicare patients are readmitted within 30 days

- 64% of doctors say that non-clinical paperwork has caused them to spend less time with patients

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Why you should support storytelling in healthcare and this Medstartr project

Why you should support storytelling in healthcare and this Medstartr project | Patient Power |

Communication is an evergreen problem in healthcare. Whether the problem is a patient with low health literacy or a doctor who can’t explain complicated subjects in a simple way, important messages do not get from one person to the other.


There have been many efforts to get doctors to communicate in more direct, less jargony way. Now it’s time to help patients learn these same skills.


Imagine if a patient could explain his condition, his daily challenges, and even his emotional state to doctors in a clear, calm, specific way. Learning the skills of storytelling could change the entire dynamic of the exam room.


Read on...



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IMS Health Identifies Opportunities for Mobile Healthcare Apps to Drive Patient Engagement, Enhance Delivery of Care

IMS Health Identifies Opportunities for Mobile Healthcare Apps to Drive Patient Engagement, Enhance Delivery of Care | Patient Power |

Despite growing interest in the use of mobile applications by patients and healthcare professionals as part of wellness, prevention and treatment regimens, the vast majority of available apps has limited functionality or evidence of value in advancing healthcare provision and outcomes, according to a new report released today by the IMS Institute for Healthcare Informatics. Most efforts in app development have been focused on overall wellness, especially diet and exercise apps, and do not address the greatest areas of need in healthcare – patients who are facing multiple chronic diseases and are typically over the age of 65. The study, Patient Apps for Improved Healthcare: From Novelty to Mainstream, is the first of its kind to examine the current state of consumer-focused mobile apps in the health system.


More than 43,000 health-related apps are currently available for download from the Apple iTunes app store. Of those, the IMS Institute found that only 16,275 apps are directly related to patient health and treatment.


The report's key findings include the following:

- Despite the large number of healthcare apps developed, most have only limited functionality.
- The downloading and use of healthcare apps is limited.
- Few apps are designed to address areas of greatest need.
- Most physicians remain wary of formally recommending healthcare apps.
- In order for apps to move from novelty to mainstream, four areas need to be addressed.


The full report, including a detailed description of the methodology, is available at

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Video Has Power for Pharma – When It’s Done Right | The Patient Experience Project

Video Has Power for Pharma – When It’s Done Right | The Patient Experience Project | Patient Power |

At any given moment, a patient with a recent diagnosis and a physician-supplied prescription is scouring the Internet to find out more about the drug he or she is being asked to take. In the process, the patient typically will find a range of information from a number of sources: manufacturers, hospital systems, advocacy groups and other patients sharing their experience in chat rooms and on blogs. Such online engagement has quickly become common practice: the norm rather than the exception. One can only hope that in this vast new world of resources, a patient will find useful information, but that’s by no means a guarantee. In fact, some online resources can leave a patient feeling even more confused or concerned!


In terms of the different types of content available online, video has become king, with eight out of 10 Internet users in the U.S. viewing online video and six out of 10 pharma consumers indicating a demand for health videos. Because of video’s ability to create a more personal connection, video spots in branded or disease education campaigns can be an effective way to encourage patients, caregivers and healthcare professionals to engage and act. The ROI is concrete: 93% of pharma users take action after viewing health information in videos, and 60% interact with their doctor as a result of watching a video.


How then can pharma brands create compelling video content with truly useful information that elevates the patient experience? How do you overcome perceptions that company sponsored sites are self-serving and biased? And how do you manage patient-shared experiences that may not accurately represent the medicine in question? You need to take the right approach.



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Education improved disease activity, therapy adherence for RA patients | Rheumatology

Education improved disease activity, therapy adherence for RA patients | Rheumatology | Patient Power |
Rheumatology | Integrating patient education and patient-reported outcome measures improved self-perceived health as well as disease activity and adherence to therapy in patients with rheumatoid arthritis, according to study results.
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Low health literacy leads to increased healthcare costs

Low health literacy leads to increased healthcare costs | Patient Power |

Sitting in a physician’s office wearing nothing but a paper thin gown can be daunting in and of itself. Now imagine, your white coat syndrome worsens as your doctor throws out unfamiliar vocabulary, as your mind draws a blank. If this sounds familiar, you’re not alone, according to Archives of Internal Medicine most patients only understand and retain about half of what a provider tells them, and do not feel comfortable asking providers to clarify. Approximately 90 million people in the United States lack the basic skills or proficiency necessary to understand and use health information as reported by The Institute of Medicine. National data from the Center for Education Statistics suggests that only 12 percent of American adults have proficient health literacy skills – reading, writing, understanding, computing, communication and using health information. The growing disparity in health literacy is directly impacting patient health. Low health literacy has been estimated to cost the U.S. economy between $106 billion and $236 billion annually reported by the Center for Health Policy Research.


As defined in Health People 2010, Health literacy is: 
“The degree to which individuals have the capacity to obtain, process, and understand basic health information and services needed to make appropriate health decisions.”


The problem affects patients of all demographics. People of all ages, race, income and education levels have a difficult time communicating with healthcare providers, and health literacy can also be influenced by culture, language, religion and belief systems.

rob halkes's comment, March 9, 2013 1:10 PM
Thx Unesco telemedicine. My hypothesis is that good "care for health" is in fact an integrative task. The more caregivers, industry and institutions work together focused on the very patient the better the outcomes of care and the more efficient the costs.
Nevermore Sithole's curator insight, August 21, 2013 8:13 AM

Low health literacy has been estimated to cost the U.S. economy between $106 billion and $236 billion annually reported by the Center for Health Policy Research.

African countries might be spending a fortune to sustain health of their people because of low health literacy.

Nevermore Sithole's curator insight, November 4, 2013 7:34 AM

Effects of low health literacy

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"Sometimes the doctor-patient relationship, like any relationship, just doesn’t click" | Doctor

"Sometimes the doctor-patient relationship, like any relationship, just doesn’t click" | Doctor | Patient Power |
A doctor can lose a patient in one of three ways, all of them painful. When a patient dies, it can feel like losing a friend. This is especially true in a primary care practice like mine, where doctors often know patients for decades.

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Being a patient isn't easy: Patient/doctor relationship, is it the ultimate trust you can have in someone?

Being a patient isn't easy: Patient/doctor relationship, is it the ultimate trust you can have in someone? | Patient Power |

I talk a great deal about what it is like for me being a patient and specifically a bowel transplant and inflammatory bowel disease patient. Actually being a patient though isn't just about me the patient it is about finding a doctor then building a relationship like the one that I have with my transplant team and specially with the guy who is at the top of the tree my transplant surgeon Anil Vaidya. You see when you go through chronic long term illness you build up a relationship with your doctor that is quite different to most people who go to hospital.

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Leading the Way to Better Patient Care

Leading the Way to Better Patient Care | Patient Power |

Like many healthcare organizations, Cleveland Clinic has undergone profound changes. With effective management, it has emerged stronger -- and with more engaged employees and a renewed emphasis on patient care.

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Importance of Patient and Family Education Training: 5 Points

Importance of Patient and Family Education Training: 5 Points | Patient Power |

Patient and family education is an important responsibility of a healthcare organization. Healthcare employees who deal directly with patients help in informing them and their family members about everything related


It is clear that patient and family education training is very important. Here are some reasons why:


- Once healthcare facilities understand the needs of the patients and their families, it enables them to improve their quality of care and increase efficiency.


- Increase in healthcare costs is a growing concern for patients and their families. Appropriate education can help them save costs by informing them about their conditions and helping them with alternative options for costly treatments.


- Education encourages better compliance to rules, as the patients now understand the reasons for those rules. Also, once patients are aware of their medical conditions and what the doctors are doing to help them, it makes them less anxious and more comfortable.


- Patient education increases motivation, satisfaction, and compliance as it gets the patients involved in their own care and treatment decisions.


- Previous research has shown that using resources and materials for patient education has significantly improved communication between patients and healthcare employees.


There is no universal structure for patient and family education. The employees must customize the education pattern for every patient after considering their preferences and needs. Thus, you can see why patient and family education training is so important for employees. The training helps them become knowledgeable and develop good communication skills in order to deliver good patient education. Thus now you have the importance of patient and family education in a nutshell.

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Patient Engagement Starts with Patient Education

Patient Engagement Starts with Patient Education | Patient Power |

If a patient does not have a solid understanding, they cannot be engaged.  Patient engagement must begin with education.  When attempting to educate a patient, many factors will come into play.  The level of health literacy, the learning style of the patient, the ability of the physician to explain and the quality of patient handout materials are all factors in how thorough of an understanding the patient will have when they leave.

Health literacy is an issue that spans across all demographics and intelligence levels.  It is the ability to read and understand information about your health and make decisions about it.  Health literacy is critical in engaging patients and motivating them to practice self-management of chronic diseases, medication adherence and care transition.  Because of time constraints, it is common for physicians to provide printed handouts to patients in lieu of offering an extensive explanation.  This leaves a substantial amount of patients without a conclusive understanding of their responsibility to manage their health.

People have different learning styles.  Some individuals learn best when being spoken to, others will need to be shown and some just have to do it themselves.   Educating patients with their preferred learning style helps ensure their engagement and understanding of the material.  A physician who struggles with communicating information in terms the patient can understand can even turn off patients with auditory learning styles.  Providing materials for the patient to take home is crucial in ensuring they have a comprehensive understanding of their responsibilities.

Many patients will nod in assurance they understand, but leave without any knowledge of even a simple required task such as when to take their medication.  Many patients are too anxious and confused to ask valuable questions at the physician’s office. This often leads to a preventable readmission into the hospital.  Providing materials for the patient to view at home can lead to a dramatic reduction in readmission rates, but they must be in an engaging format.

Ideally, physicians should offer a variety of materials that address multiple learning styles, various levels of health literacy and can evoke emotion.  Printed health education materials will be ideal for many, but videos will help bridge educational and language barriers, especially with complex situations.  Having a variety of tools that work to both engage and educate the patient, allows them to make better decisions regarding their health.



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Improving communication may influence outcomes, patient satisfaction

Improving communication may influence outcomes, patient satisfaction | Patient Power |

Patients recall only about 10% of the information imparted by physicians during an office visit, and about half of all patients don’t understand their treatment plan, according to Richard Nordstrom.

Furthermore, 90% of patients have difficulty following routine medical advice, said Mr. Nordstrom, chief executive officer for a health care communications consulting firm in Montclair, N.J.

The problem isn’t just one of low health care literacy. Patients who receive a significant, life-altering diagnosis often don’t hear much else after they hear words like, "you have rheumatoid arthritis," he said at Perspectives in Rheumatic Diseases 2013.

This is true regardless of a patient’s literacy level, and even those with high literacy may be too embarrassed to ask questions that they think might make them sound uninformed, he noted.

These factors lead to poor outcomes and less patient satisfaction. Improved communication can go a long way toward improving both, he said.

Physicians have so little time with patients; about half of those in a recent survey said that they see between 50 and 100 patients each week. The average time a health care professional spends educating a patient on conditions and treatments critical for the patient’s care is only 11 minutes, and during that time, patients ask an average of only two questions.

"Your moments with that patient are critical," Mr. Nordstrom said, stressing that for the patient, that time is the most valuable time they will spend "in their entire health care ecosystem."

Excellent communication in those brief moments will ensure that the most is made of that time, and that the patient experience is exceptional. Several steps can be taken to improve communication and to enhance the doctor-patient relationship – and to improve satisfaction and outcomes.

For one thing, talk more slowly, he said.

Eleven minutes is not a lot of time, and while slowing down may seem counterproductive, it will allow more information to sink in.

Also, use plain language. "NSAID" may seem like plain language to you, but for a patient, "anti-inflammatory" will likely make more sense. Remember that what may seem like plain language often is jargon.

"One report suggested that if you spend time on an educational intervention on something as simple as an NSAID, you’ll have a fourfold increase in efficacy in pain relief and reduction of inflammation," he said. "Assuming patients understand what they’re supposed to do is not enough."

Visual tools – pictures and "infographics" – are very helpful for improving communication and information retention among patients, as well.

Physicians often scribble information and drawings on the white examination table paper, then crumple that up and throw it away – and patients often fish that out of the trash can and take it home, he said, in explaining the value of visual learning.

"Infographics provide visual ways to communicate a lot of data," he said.

Technology, such as tablet computers, which are increasingly used in the office setting, can assist with this and can be an excellent communication tool rather than just a research tool and a tool for recording patient data.

Other tips for improving communication include using short- rather than long-form information and creating an empathic environment that makes patients feel comfortable asking questions.

Brief communications are important. Many patients get lost trying to navigate through long-form communications. It is important to filter it down to simple, small bits of information, Mr. Nordstrom said.

In addition to improving outcomes and patient satisfaction, improving communication is likely to reduce your risk of being sued for malpractice. One report suggests that at the core of 75% of malpractice cases are one or more of six factors: an inadequate explanation of the diagnosis, an inadequate explanation of the treatment, a feeling on the part of the patient of being ignored, a failure by the physician to understand the perspective of the patient or family/caregiver, a sense on the part of the patient that his or her views are devalued, and a sense by the patient that he or she was rushed.

Conversely, when communication is used to promote a more patient-centered relationship, which Mr. Nordstrom called an "exceptional patient experience," patients tend to come away feeling more engaged, activated, and empowered, he said.



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Is patient engagement the reason premature births are dropping?

Is patient engagement the reason premature births are dropping? | Patient Power |
Premature births have dropped six consecutive years. Some Ohio hospitals credit patient engagement with at-risk mothers, among other approaches.

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12 Tips for Improving Communication With Your Doctor

12 Tips for Improving Communication With Your Doctor | Patient Power |

The importance of having good communication with your doctor is often emphasized. But it doesn't always come easy -- you may have to work at it. It actually takes a conscious effort. Don't wait for that effort to come from your doctor -- it's your responsibility too. Here are a dozen tips for improving communication with your doctor.


As you work your way through these tips, think about how each will help you understand your doctor, help your doctor understand you -- and ultimately promote the feeling that you are on the same team.


A Dozen Tips for Improving Communication

1. Be prepared for your doctor visit

2. Don't just listen

3. Don't be shy

4. Talk symptoms, not theories

5. Be honest

6. Be open to your doctor's advice

7. Understand your goals

8. Ask for a diagram or illustration

9. Respect the time

10. Review your medication list and needed refills

11. Summarize before leaving the office

12. Thank your doctor


There is one last tip -- let's call it a bonus tip. If you know ahead of time that you have many questions for your doctor and that it will likely be a long visit -- call up and book it ahead of time. Let your doctor's staff know you will need extra time. Don't just spring it on them when you show up. They will appreciate your effort not to delay your doctor's schedule. A healthy and positive doctor-patient relationship is based on mutual respect, mutual understanding, and consideration.




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Getting Patients Engaged Is the Key to Strong Health Care |

Getting Patients Engaged Is the Key to Strong Health Care | | Patient Power |

For all professionals who work in health care, proper engagement of patients in their health care is very important. Having patients with a stake in the quality of their health care is the key to getting better outcomes, fewer visits to the ER and fewer trips to the hospital.


It is very easy to see who an engaged patient is. He or she does what the health care provider says, and does what their health care team says they should do for the best health outcome.

But isn’t it true that being engaged in your health care really depends upon what your perspective is?


You see, everyone defines what health is based upon what is happening in our own lives, and in our own particular way. All people have different levels of satisfaction with their health care, and what they consider to be good health.


There are certain patterns of health care that we can use to better segment various health care  populations. One such pattern is to put a top priority on having a very high level of good personal health. Another is to be proactive as far as maintaining that good health, and another issue is when people do not trust their medical professional.


It is not a surprise that people who have such a pattern of thinking about health care will usually go to doctors’ offices less often, as well as the hospital and ER. This will drive lower health costs. These people are also the most healthy when they are compared to other patterns of thinking about health. Because these patients have trust issues with their doctor, they tend to be mavericks and like to do their own thing to stay healthy. So, they are not the most compliant patient and will tend to be more unengaged from their health care professional.


Read on...


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Startup unveils a wearable device it says can count calories -- but it doesn't actually exist yet - MedCity News

Startup unveils a wearable device it says can count calories -- but it doesn't actually exist yet - MedCity News | Patient Power |
Startup AIRO made mobile health news this week for claiming to have figured out how to automatically track calories using spectrometry in a wearable device.

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The Impact of Mobile Devices on Health Information

Few technologies have had as much of an impact on health information as mobile phones. It is unusual these days to walk into an examination room and not find a patient on their mobile phone, looking up information, playing games, or communicating.


Mobile phones are pervasive — with many lower income patients forgoing other needs in order to own a smart phone. What this does is place access in both the care provider and patient's hands pre, post, or during the encounter. With a wide range of excellent mobile apps and mobile-optimized healthcare websites freely available to both clinicians and patients, the patient management dynamic is shifting in ways that could not be anticipated as recently as two years ago. Home research and printing of articles by patients has been replaced by the immediacy and accessibility of mobile device access to the same information during or after a clinical encounter.


Electronic Medical Records provide physicians with more effective mechanisms to collect and evaluate lab results, identify patients at risk or document clinical information. However, from the perspective of the patient, EMRs are provider-centric tools that do not provide access to information or empowerment, unless there is a patient portal and the portal is effectively used within the practice.


In contrast, mobile phones plus high-speed internet access are pervasive and empowering for patients. Mobile apps are being used for smoking cessation, weight management, diet control and exercise tracking. Similarly, patients are turning to their devices as a primary mechasnism to search for health information or ask questions of their support communities through sites such as patientslikeme. The information is often high quality and relevant and are balancing the power equation in the clinical encounter. Although physicians retain an edge in being able to recognize good quality health information, the gap is narrowing rapidly.


Mobile phones are the differentiator. If clinicians can find a way to leverage their patient's energy and desire to find information and apply it to their health, mobile devices hold the potential to become powerful clinical tools in the management of many conditions. If physicians ignore this trend, they do so at their own peril.


Have your patients used their phones to share health information with you? Do you have any anecdotes or tips to share?

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5 Ways Pinterest Can Be Used for Patient Education in Healthcare

5 Ways Pinterest Can Be Used for Patient Education in Healthcare | Patient Power |

Use Pinterest to inform patients about:

1. How the body works

Giving patients a better understanding of how the body works will help them understand problems they may have and the treatments that are available. It also helps patients better identify issues to communicate with their doctor when they know where things are, how they work, and what they’re called.

2. How medical procedures work

When a patient understands how a medical procedure works they may feel more comfortable getting it done. A patient who understands the procedure is also probably less likely to be as anxious about the procedure if they know what is going to happen. Patients can also be informed of procedures or treatment options that they may not have been familiar with before.

3. How medical devices work

Giving people illustrations about how a medical device works can not only help patients who are currently using the device, but can also help to bring awareness to other patients who may not have known about the device. Patients who are using the device can become more familiar with how the device is actually working.

4. General wellness and maintaining good health

Pinterest is a good way to give patients reminders about how to take care of their health in general. Visuals can serve as reference points that can be digested easily. Imagery can also be an effective tool for conveying information in a way that resonates with patients more effectively.

5. Diseases, medical conditions, and illness prevention

Pinterest can be used to generate awareness for diseases and how they are identified and managed. Images can be used to illustrate the way a disease affects the body and what kinds of symptoms can be present. Infographics and other images serve as powerful vehicles for educating patients.

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Person-Centered HealthCare: Leading the Way Toward Patient Engagement Through Health IT | HealthWorks Collective

Person-Centered HealthCare: Leading the Way Toward Patient Engagement Through Health IT | HealthWorks Collective | Patient Power |
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The new house call is online - by Jackie Crosby

Elle Ashton was pretty sure the "crud" that made her head feel like it was in a crushing vise had morphed into a sinus infection. But with no health insurance, the 20-year-old college student and part-time restaurant worker said even a trip to MinuteClinic or Target seemed too expensive.


Ashton decided to log on to Virtuwell, an online medical clinic, for a diagnosis instead. "I was skeptical," said Ashton, of Minnetonka. "But the website was super user-friendly, and took all of 15 minutes to go through the questions."


Bloomington-based HealthPartners launched Virtuwell in September 2010 and has relied on a snappy marketing campaign that has included messages on bar coasters, ads about bladder infections on stall doors of women's restrooms and billboards with a giant tissue box.


HealthPartners officials say the number of patients treated through the Virtuwell site tripled in its second year and that more than 40,000 have paid for the service to date.


St. Paul-based Zipnosis launched a similar service after a one-year pilot program with Park Nicollet in 2009. Zipnosis has seen 10,000 patients to date, and expects to double or triple that number in the first six months of 2013. Both Zipnosis and Virtuwell expect to expand into new states and develop mobile applications in the next quarter.


Web-based medicine is undergoing explosive growth as consumers, health insurers and employers are drawn to the convenience of timely, low-cost care for minor ailments.


Doctors and hospital systems are warming to the notion of round-the-clock e-visits as well, particularly as federal health reform rolls out. With an estimated 30 million Americans expected to gain access to insurance in 2014, finding effective and low-cost ways to divert those with easy-to-diagnose problems such as earaches, pink eye and skin rashes can help alleviate a looming shortage of primary care doctors.


Medicare doesn't cover such visits, but analysts believe it's only a matter of time.

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End of the doctor's surgery

End of the doctor's surgery | Patient Power |

Health Secretary, UK, Jeremy Hunt is planning a technological revolution that could spell the end of the traditional doctor’s surgery.


A new system of “virtual clinics” is being planned in which GPs connect with patients via iPads and Skype, an idea that NHS bosses are importing from India.


The reforms would save £2.9billion “almost immediately” and improve the lives of most patients, for example by avoiding the need to find child care during appointments, Health Minister Dr Dan Poulter said last week.


However, critics are concerned the initiative would create a two-tier NHS in which the less technologically able, particularly the elderly, would be left behind.

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Online Access To Docs Increases Office Visits, Study Finds

Online Access To Docs Increases Office Visits, Study Finds | Patient Power |

Patients hope that having online access to their doctors will mean they can cut down on how often they have to go to the doctor's office. But new research suggests that patients with online access actually schedule more office visits.

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