Healthcare News & Insights

Engaged patients = Faster recoveries, shorter hospital stays


Studies have shown that engaged patients — those who actively participate in their care — are more likely to achieve better outcomes.

Reason: They practice preventive measures and live healthier lives, because they’re educated about their conditions, and have the skills and confidence to managing their own health care.

An AARP study found that when compared to less active patients, engaged patients are three times less likely to suffer a negative health consequence because of poor communication among providers, more than twice as likely to avoid a readmission and nearly half as likely to experience a medical error.

One of the easiest ways to engage patient is via e-health resources.

Patients in the OpenNotes initiative, which invites patients to review their medical notes written by their practitioners, said they felt more in control of their care and demonstrated increased adherence to physician instructions.

Patients who are happy with their providers aren’t only more likely to follow treatment plans, they’re also more likely to maintain an ongoing relationship with their physicians.

Mobile devices

The unique abilities of mobile electronic devices, such as the iPad, give practitioners the ability to collect data, access that information with a touch of a finger, and take it with them where ever they go. While the healthcare industry has been slow to adopt this technology, due to security and privacy issues dealing with patients’ protected health information, patients have been a big driver pushing their providers to adopt it.

Patients want to stay in touch with their providers at all times. Since patients have their smartphones with them 24/7, they feel it’s only natural for healthcare providers to have their devices with them so they can interact.

The four main areas where tablets are used the most in health care are:

  • patient monitoring and data collection
  • appointment scheduling
  • reports, and
  • prescriptions.

But when it comes to patient-centered care, obviously the biggest advantage to using portable tablets is the ability for all healthcare providers to communicate with patients virtually and more effectively. Plus the iPad’s multimedia capabilities allow providers to see visual images of patients and listen to a possible irregular heart beat.

Saves time and money

Tablets also eliminate the need to record and enter information into a computer. It saves time, energy and money. Less paper and manpower are required making the entire process more efficient.

Some hospitals are even replacing their clipboards at registration with iPads. Customized forms can be created to register patients for the first time. They input their personal, demographic and insurance information directly into the system. It also allows patients to take a profile picture, and review their medications and allergies. Once it’s entered, it’s saved in the system for future visits.

While this does save registration time, some patients, like the elderly who aren’t familiar with technology, might find it intimidating. But other patients love the speed and ease of it.

Privacy and security also were a fear when tablets were first being used in the healthcare industry, but the iPad and similar tablets provide 128 and even 256 bit encryption of data on storage and transmission, minimizing data leak and security violation from manual handling of paper forms and documents.

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  1. Jan Oldenburg says:

    Hi Renee,
    Do you have a citation for the AARP study? I am familiar with one they did in 2005, but I believe there is an updated version and I’m curious if you found that. Can you get me the citation you used?
    Thanks! Jan

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