Educating patients while they are in the hospital is a challenge for busy nursing teams even in the best of times. And in the happiest of situations, like teaching a new mother about breastfeeding and infant care, for instance.
But, talking to patients about other important healthcare topics isn’t as easy. Like the advance directives conversation, the one that The Joint Commission mandates all hospitals have with their patients.
About two-thirds of US adults don’t have an advance directive, the document that spells out the type of care we want at the end of our lives.
Advance Directives Education is Challenging
And for older adults, those over age 65, a 2016 Kaiser Family Foundation survey found that fewer than 1 in 4 have ever had a conversation with a healthcare provider about end-of-life care wishes.
Why are the numbers so low? Talking about death and planning for dying is not lighthearted dinner conversation. But it is an even more difficult conversation in the throes of a medical crisis.
In the ICU or hospital bed, a patient may be confused, medicated, intubated or even unconscious. But, without an understanding of their wishes for how and where they want to spend their last days, families and healthcare are left to make difficult decisions on their own.
Hospitals have been working diligently for years to bend the curve toward greater adoption of advance directives. The Joint Commission requires that hospitals ask patients if they have an advance directive, and offer them one if they don’t. Even so, only about 25% of patients across hospitals nationwide have an advance directive. Hospitals may have well-intentioned plans for incorporating the advance directives conversation into regular bedside visits, but the reality is they don’t always happen.
Automating the Conversation Using Technology
That was the case at Providence Saint John’s Health Center in Santa Monica, California. The hospital wanted to increase the percentage of patients with advance directives. Like most hospitals, it had relied on staff to initiate the advance directives discussion, but with limited results. Rather than continuing with its traditional manual – and inconsistent – approach, Saint John’s instead leveraged an existing technology to automate the process.
The staff realized they had a solution in their existing interactive patient engagement platform on the patient room TVs. Their Allen E3 platform features the ability to share assigned videos to their patients as they watch TV. Now, when the patient turns on their TV, the Allen interactive menu alerts them that they have been assigned videos to watch. The advance directive video is readily accessible, with just a single click.
Phenomenal Increase in Advance Directives Education
The increase in patients viewing and engaging with the advance directives content has been nothing less than phenomenal: a 1,085% monthly increase in viewership. And that’s not all. The hospital has since extended the automated content to numerous other areas, with similar impressive improvement in patient engagement. Now Saint John’s patients receive daily check-in surveys to gauge satisfaction with their hospital stay, and automated education on fall safety, and relaxing sounds videos to improve rest.
The Providence Saint John’s story illustrates the power of partnering to create innovative solutions that further leverage existing IT investments. Read more about how Providence Saint John’s transformed the patient education by automating the process.
For more information on how Allen’s smart-room interactive platform can help your hospital improve patient education, visit www.EngageWithAllen.com.