I was recently introduced to a representative from an interesting company, Epion Health. Epion is just about to roll out a novel way to take advantage of tablet computers to educate patients while they wait to be seen. They are planning to use Android tablets to teach patients a variety of medical topics in which they might be interested, an thus promote the area of health literacy. A captive audience, patients waiting to be seen in a doctor’s office, will be able to choose from a touch screen full of options. According to their website, 5000 active tablets are estimated to reach a million patients every month. That’s a pretty impressive number. Moreover, the source of material is apparently peer reviewed and comes from the Mayo Clinic.
I think this would save me potentially a great amount of time if it were able to educate patients on how to take medications, side effects to watch for, what a particular condition they may have really is and means (in my field, for example, Hashimoto’s thyroiditis). Although technology like this might automate doctors out of existence one day, for right now it would be a welcome tool for patient education.
By the way, I’m excited to say that I’ve had conversation with a company representative about potentially beta testing a tablet with my own patients once they roll out the first ones, possibly next month.
Dr. West is an endocrinologist in private practice in Washington, DC. He completed fellowship training in Endocrinology and Metabolism at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. Dr. West opened The Washington Endocrine Clinic, PLLC, as a solo practice in 2009. He can be reached at email@example.com.