In this lesson, you will learn how to use telehealth to educate patients. Specifically, this lesson will cover:
- Communication Methods
1. Communication Methods
In addition to offering clinical visits, the telehealth platform is also a convenient, effective way to offer healthcare education opportunities for patients and their caregivers. Education empowers patients. Patients that are educated, involved, and engaged are more likely to participate in their own healthcare management (Wetter, D, 2020). By contrast, a lack of educational resources has been shown to lead to poorer health (Rush, KL, 2018).
Telehealth for educational purposes can be offered in either asynchronous or synchronous formats.
Synchronous education happens in real-time, with both the patient and provider/team on video and audio.
Asynchronous educational opportunities could be implemented in the form of an educational library of resources. These resources may be print or short video clips.
One method to increase engagement and call the person to action is to combine a preventative screening test reminder with a video on the procedure. The message should have a link to online scheduling in addition to an appointment contact number for people to schedule. This method increases the number of patients who schedule the test with a response rate of around 30% (process measure). The outcome measure would be the percentage of patients who get the test.
Care coordinators often use a combination of videos and other educational materials to augment their mentoring and coaching of patients with chronic disease.
Having educational material available, both real-time and in a resource library, may improve patient outcomes.
- Communication that is happening in real-time.
- Communication that is not happening in real-time, such as a recording or video.
Recent literature demonstrates the success of educating patients via telehealth for acute and chronic conditions as well as preparation for upcoming procedures.
- Exum et al. (2020) highlight how they used telehealth to educate their patients with possible COVID-19 on performing their rehabilitative exercises. In this case, telehealth education came with the added benefit of maintaining social distancing so as to support not adding to the possibility of further disease transmission.
- Dandachi et al. (2019) integrated healthcare and related education for HIV patients into their practice. They reported on the resulting positive experience and patient satisfaction.
- Khuc et al. (2020) describe the use of telehealth-based colonoscopy education for colonoscopy preparation in a veteran population. They demonstrated increased patient attendance to colonoscopy preparation training without negatively affecting the quality of the colonoscopy preparation for those patients.
- Telehealth has successfully been used to educate seniors about managing their diabetes (Whitehouse, CR 2019). Another case study reported the successful implementation of a multi-disciplinary approach for family telehealth education for a child with new-onset diabetes (Shwar, RS, et al., 2020).
While research has demonstrated many successes with implementing education via telehealth, there are some common questions that have emerged:
- How do you keep the patient engaged?
- What are the components and processes needed to ensure that education via telehealth is effective? Safe?
- What are the potential challenges? Barriers? Opportunities?
Further studies are necessary to optimize the delivery of education via telehealth and to fully demonstrate that the implementation of education via telehealth can improve the care continuum for patients and optimize delivery. However, existing research is optimistic (TigerConnect, 2020).
Authored by Cindy Ebner, MSN, RN, CPHRM, FASHRM and Melissa A. Singer Pressman, PhD, MLIS