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Online resources that save time and provide education for patients?

Posted Feb 19 2009 6:06pm

Online Health Education Link: Info Surge

I have written about the benefits for a Physician's practice moving from paper to electronic records, but what about the needs of Patients? How can physicians provide the right amount of information to their patients about procedures, diagnostics, or other tests that also educates on the risks and benefits? Seems there may be opportunities, but only in short conversations between patient and provider.

According to recent reports, the general population is seeking education about their health conditions online. Unfortunately for many, the information they receive may be inaccurate, since there are few reliable Internet sources (e.g. Mayo Clinic, WebMD, etc.). So, information received via online search may not be complete, or reliable.

I recently met a colleague via Linked In - the social networking platform - who told me about the opportunities for physicians to provide online health education for patients with their system. She provided me with access to a demo video. As I watched the video, I thought about a patient's need to understand implications for procedures, and a provider's need to help their patients understand risks and benefits in order to get the needed "informed" consent. Too often, there is little time to provide the right amount of information.

I expect that with renewed interest in enabling technologies on "the cloud" (e.g. Internet), there will be future educational opportunities for patients as well as their providers (maybe online CEs?). Also consider this ... what if a Provider had a website with a patient portal that contained not only their health records, appointment scheduling, refill requests, etc. but also a "library" of educational videos on topics and health conditions for their patients? I think it is an interesting idea.

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