A technology company has created a product to increase patient education, which it hopes will also increase positive outcomes for hospitals.
The product — eVideon’s Patient Experience Platform — is a server-based communication product that allows patients to utilize their hospital room television for more than entertainment.
“It’s an interactive patient TV system, which means we are using the TV as a bidirectional communication device,” said Jeff Ingle, founder and president of the Grand Rapids company. “That means instead of just watching TV and movies, we can interact with the system.”
For example, Ingle said patients can take surveys to help the hospital identify areas for improvement in care, and they can watch educational videos targeted toward the reason for their hospital stay, such as a video on how a heart works.
“They can have patients watch targeted patient education videos about their ailment and then answer questions,” Ingle said. “The nurses can then use that to help make sure the patient understands what we are trying to teach them.”
Ingle said offering patients educational videos focused on their illness can help improve patient outcomes, which is good for hospitals.
“Forty-two percent of Americans do not comprehend written instruction,” he said.
Ingle said that, traditionally, patient education is primarily done during the discharge process.
“When it’s time for discharge, you get this thick folder with all of these pamphlets in it that you are supposed to read as part of your after-care plan, but patients don’t do that. They are non-compliant,” Ingle said.
Instead, he said, the Patient Experience Platform essentially starts the discharge process when a patient is first admitted.
He said the eVideon product is integrated into the hospital’s electronic medical record system, so when a patient is admitted to the hospital, the nurse conducting the admission interview with the patient can begin adding teaching points to the patient’s chart.
“The eVideon system is integrated so as the nurse is adding teaching points, these videos then become part of the patient’s menu,” Ingle said.
Ingle said if a patient receives a prescription, an educational video may be added to his or her menu explaining how to take the medication and why it is being prescribed.
The system also tracks which videos the patient has watched so the care team can encourage the patient to watch videos that he or she hasn’t.
“Having patient education about why they are there and what to do after they’re discharged — maybe healthy habits, what to eat, how to exercise — all the things we want them to learn to be able to stay out of the hospital, really, we want to start as soon as they come in, rather than giving them a thick packet as they are leaving.”
Ingle said as patient outcomes and reducing re-admission rates become more important to health care organizations, systems like eVideon’s are becoming more popular.
“They are faced with re-admission penalties and patient satisfaction score penalties (for bad scores), which they don’t want because they lose a lot of money,” Ingle said. “We want patients to be as engaged in their care as possible and we also want them to be as educated as we can get them.”
Ingle said because hospitals often deploy the Patient Experience Platform one floor at a time, he’s been able to see the impact the system is having, which he said supports the argument that it improves patient outcomes.
The company recently completed installation of the Patient Experience Platform at Mary Free Bed Rehabilitation Hospital as part of the hospital’s expansion project. The software is integrated into televisions in 141 patient rooms and at other locations throughout the hospital, including exam rooms, lobbies, staff areas and waiting rooms.
The company also has installations at Metro Health and Spectrum Health hospitals, as well as at the Iron Mountain VA, Ann Arbor VA and other locations across the country, according to Ingle.
“This is a hot product in the VAs right now,” Ingle said. “They all use the same electronic medical record — it’s the largest EMR system in the world. So when someone goes to Ann Arbor VA and is prescribed these videos and it’s documented into the patient record — it could be an assessment score — that follows the patient anywhere.”
The company recently announced that eVideon has partnered with manufacturer PDi, which builds televisions with swing arms.
“They make this new swing-arm TV that is Android based, and we built eVideon software to run on that Android tablet,” Ingle said. “Hospitals use these for dual occupancy rooms, so instead of having two TVs in a room that make a lot of noise, each person has their own TV.”
He said swing-arm TVs are also used in clinics where infusions or transfusions are done, as well as other environments where patients sit for a length of time while receiving care.
Overall, Ingle said, systems like eVideon’s are still an emerging technology in health care.
“Less than 10 percent of hospitals nationwide have these types of systems,” he said. “Very few have the Ethernet-based system like ours.”
But he said he expects all hospitals will eventually have them, and eVideon is gearing up to be able to meet the increased demand. The company is currently looking to add to its 25-person team.
Ingle said he’s looking for additional software developers and software engineers as well as employees in the area of research and development and technicians for application support.