FOCUS Program Uses Video Education to Promote Testing and Treatment
St. Joseph’s Medical Center – Dignity Health has been an important part of the healthcare community in central California for more than a century. St Joseph is a 355 bed facility with almost 900 physicians. The hospital specializes in cardiac care, cancer treatment, and women’s and children’s lines, including a NICU.
Through a grant funded by Gilead Sciences, St. Joseph’s – Dignity Health participates in the FOCUS (Frontlines of Communities in the United States) program. At St. Joseph’s, the FOCUS program was launched in 2019 in the emergency department (ED). The project aims to increase the number of HIV and hepatitis C screenings in the community and connect patients who test positive to care options. All patients in the ED will have the opportunity to opt out of screening for HIV and hepatitis C screening. According to Jose R. Serrano, the project manager for the FOCUS program, there are several obstacles to success in the program, including people who opt out of testing because they don’t want to know their HIV status, homeless patients who don’t have a means of contacting them and therefore cannot receive follow up, and people who don’t believe they are at risk for HIV and decline any sort of preventative care. HIV stigma also prevents people from getting tested and seeking care. The program not only aims to test patients but to inform them and the community on the importance of testing and treatment.
Approach & Solution
Patient education is critical to allaying concerns that prevent patients from being screened, and is also a critical component to support the patient as they process the initial diagnosis and prepare for long-term management of a disease like HIV or hepatitis C. Not only do these patients have to deal with the shock of learning they have a life-altering illness that will require long-term care, they need resources to help navigate the emotions that are linked to the stigma associated with HIV. To meet this challenge, St. Joseph’s relies on both traditional condition-specific printed education and a video that is meant to increase the patient’s confidence and comfort level with the care team at St. Joseph’s. The video features the patient navigator talking about her role in patient care and explaining the benefits of pursuing care. The video is supported by the HealthClips library of patient education, which has been organized to offer recommended learning on HIV and hepatitis C. Over time, as St. Joseph’s continues to refine the program, they will be tracking engagement with the videos and education and working to increase participation in both screening and post-diagnosis treatment.
Connect with our Team to learn more about The Wellness Network’s patient education and engagement solutions.
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