As physicians, we understand that healthcare settings often function independently. For example, we know that not every physician has a relationship with their local hospital. As an outpatient physician, working for a private practice, for example, I don’t have access to the labs drawn at each one of my local healthcare facilities. I am dependent, therefore, on the hospital or lab asking my patients for their permission to send me their health information after a hospital stay, ED visit, or the like and then actually sending that information to my office.
Families rarely realize that I cannot access their health information without this permission and that I rely on the hospital to send it to me when permission is granted. When they bring a child to the ED for an illness they often assume, that their primary care pediatrician knows not only when they were there, but what happened, what labs were drawn, what medicines were given and what instructions were shared. They were usually asked, on arrival, to name their PCP, so they figure we must be in contact with the facility. When they arrive to “follow up” with their PCP, they are sometimes disappointed to learn that I have no knowledge of what they have been through. It’s often worse in the opposite direction. Patients arrive at an Emergency Department without any of their medical record, so those physicians start from zero when evaluating a child.
In both directions, physicians are left to rely on patients’ (or parents) understanding of the details of their medical history. Helping to support families as they move between systems can make this transfer of information much easier. One way to support them is through video educational materials designed to help them understand their journey. Hospitals are strange places to most people so videos that explain where the patient is, who they will be meeting, and what the processes are can make it easier for families to understand. From a simple video about who you “see” in the Emergency Department to videos on common conditions and their medications, video format can be very useful.
Video content that is designed for children is even more amazing. Children are often anxious in healthcare settings, so offering them a medium that they are comfortable with as a means of education can decrease anxiety, allowing them to learn about their illness. Making videos accessible from both the hospital and home is one way to allow families to review the information relevant to their healthcare experience. It also allows any caregivers to review and share the information at any time.
Utilizing video content can improve adherence by improving education and decreasing patient (or family) anxiety. Improved adherence means less issues with patient safety and less risk of readmission. It also allows the patient to walk between medical systems empowered with the knowledge of their disease, and its treatment.