Today, patient engagement tablets deliver a wide variety of information to healthcare consumers. Mobile tablets are at the forefront of a broader effort to support healthcare providers in partnering with patients in order to achieve improved outcomes.
Researchers have posited that patient engagement has three components: acting, feeling and thinking. Further, they theorize that there are four points on the spectrum of engagement - disengagement, arousal, adhesion, and eudaimonic project. At one end, there is disengagement, which is characterized by an inability to take initiative (acting), a denial of the diagnosis (feeling), and being uninformed (thinking). At the other end, there is adopting healthy behaviors (acting), acknowledging the impact of the diagnosis (feeling), and understanding the medical condition (thinking). The challenge is to move patients from one end of the spectrum to the other.
Engaged patients are healthier and happier. While patient engagement in outpatient settings has improved by leaps and bounds over the past decade, patients-as-partners hasn’t kept pace in the hospital setting. It’s common for outpatients to get lab results, refill prescriptions, schedule appointments, communicate with their providers, and access health education materials. It’s less common for inpatients to have a variety of information and resources at their fingertips.
Enter patient engagement tablets. Mobile tablets in hospitals create a multitude of opportunities for patient engagement. For example, health education information tailored to a patient’s condition can be delivered to the device. As a result, the patient understands their condition and acquires the knowledge to make informed choices in the hospital and at home. Patient comprehension leads to greater engagement, which in turn fuels positive action.
Deploying patient engagement tablets in a hospital can also empower patients to clearly communicate with nursing staff and physicians. The specificity of tablet-enabled messaging helps alleviate alarm fatigue while enabling nurses to prioritize patient needs. The availability of care team profiles and photos makes patients feel connected to their providers, which boosts patient satisfaction.
Patient engagement tablets are also a mechanism of inclusion for family members. Families can access health education materials while visiting, allowing them to knowledgeably support the patient following discharge. Tablets can also act as platforms for family members to video conference with providers outside of the facility.
Patient comfort is increased when patients have access to familiar forms of communication and entertainment. Patient engagement tablets can deliver both, permitting inpatients to access their email, favorite movies and television shows, and social media accounts.
Researchers have developed a hierarchy of technology-related patient engagement methods. Visualized as a pyramid, the base is the least complex and most utilized method, while the peak is the most complex and least utilized method. At the base is entertainment, followed by generic health information, patient-specific health information, advanced communication, and personalized decision support. It’s clear that mobile tablets can be utilized at every stage of the hierarchy to move patients further toward the “fully engaged” end of the patient engagement spectrum. At that point, patients will understand their condition (thinking), will be processing their emotions about their hospital stay (feeling), and will be empowered to follow through on care instructions following discharge (acting). Improved outcomes are sure to follow.
Hatchmed’s Talon is a universal tablet mount for hospital beds. Easy to place, tighten, lock, and adjust, the Talon supports mobile tablet initiatives to improve patient engagement and HCAHPS scores.