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Effective, patient-centered communication is key to the quality of care that is provided by health professionals and the world’s health services. Good communication is an ethical imperative, necessary for effective patient engagement. It’s a means to avoid misunderstandings, improve quality of care, ensure efficient use of scare resources and achieve better health outcomes. Good communication tools support patient education, allowing a greater opportunity for intervention to delay disease progression and to maximize the success of treatments and therapies.
‘Patient-centered care’ however, means far more than the provision of information. It has to do with the interaction between the patient and physician, with healthcare professionals needing to consider patients’ cultural traditions, personal preferences and values, family situations, social circumstances and lifestyles. To this end digital technology can play a valuable role with easy-to-use Smart Phone and Tablet ‘Data Collection and Patient Assessment Apps.’ The impact of digital technology in health can be extremely impressive. A new study published January 2013 highlights the positive impact of digital technology on health. It describes a system that asks spinal surgery patients to record their progress on an iPad while in hospital, then at home following discharge, through an online system. This created an estimated 300 new outpatient appointment slots per consultant surgeon per year.
Wow! Meanwhile, the digital revolution is allowing us to create ever more innovative ways to support healthcare professionals and engage patients. Here are just a few examples:
- Treatment diary and dosage reminder Apps
- Health checker, lifestyle and monitoring Apps
- Product information websites
- Augmented reality engagement initiatives
- Games and gamification programmes
This shows a great leap forward in the interest of putting patients centre stage and creating easy and effective communication resources that is accessible. Hoorah