From ‘distraction therapy’ to providing educational content at a patient’s ‘medical moment of epiphany’, display devices within a hospital are capable of engaging patients in ways that have a real clinical impact. Jeff Fallon, Chairman & CEO of eVideon Healthcare, a technology company that makes smart devices for patient engagement at the bedside, believes these types of platforms have become a necessity rather than an amenity.
I sat down with Fallon for a one-on-one interview to discover why he believes patient engagement remains important and why hospitals will continue to invest in technology to support it in the years ahead.
What is distraction therapy?
Right off the bat, Fallon used a term that I had not heard of before: “distraction therapy”. According to the University of Rochester Medical Center:
Distraction has been found to help when people are experiencing anxiety, nausea, or pain…it has been shown that distracting a person’s’ mind from unpleasant thoughts, procedures, or pain can help them feel better.
eVideon delivers relaxation content via its IPTVs, tablets and other digital displays in a hospital facility – beautiful imagery, that can reduce stress and distract patients from whatever has them in bed. “Lots of studies have shown that when patients are able to de-stress, great things can happen medically,” said Fallon. “This includes reducing blood pressure and heart rate.”
The real goal
Distraction therapy is just one of the many things that a platform like eVideon’s can deliver and it certainly helps improve satisfaction scores and overall patient experience, but those aren’t the real goals according to Fallon. Throughout our conversation, Fallon repeatedly stressed that the real goal is to deliver information to patients so that they can be more engaged in their care and it needs to be done in a way that is efficient for clinicians.
“When we focus on patient engagement quality goes up, costs go down, and satisfaction goes up. We believe doing this with the right technology can lead to a lot of efficiency for the care team which has an impact on the staff as well.”
Fallon pointed to his smart phone and commented how as individuals we have access to a wealth of information at our fingertips. Yet, when we are a patient in a hospital we are suddenly cut off from the flow of information – we don’t know exactly what’s going on around us, why we are getting certain treatments, or even what the readouts mean on the devices we are connected to. In some cases, we can’t event access the Internet because connectivity is so poor. When we are in that vulnerable position, engaging with information is the key to reduced stress and improved satisfaction.
“Hospital rooms are a place that we want to keep patients out of,” said Fallon. “But when they are in that bed they are at the ‘medical moment of epiphany’ and they are more ready now than they ever were before to understand their medical condition.”
In Fallon’s eyes, that is the perfect opportunity to educate patients with trusted video and other forms of medical content. “If they had a platform that was able to deliver information to patients at their bedside then they could provide their own prescribed video education to that patient in the bed, rather than leaving it up to the patient to find something on the Internet.”
Virtual Visits for Friends, Family and Care Teams
Fallon was very excited about the new Virtual Visit offering that his team is working on. Although it may sound like a telehealth platform, it’s not. Their offering is centered on the patient rather than clinicians.
The COVID-19 pandemic has cut off patients from their loved ones and support networks. Providing a safe, secure and easy-to-use way for patients to stay socially connected has become an acute need. eVideon’s solution allows patients to have a virtual visit with friends or family…without the need for them to download a special app on their phone.
That same solution could even be used by hospital staff to check in on patients in their rooms (ie: to ask a quick question or answer one). This not only saves time, it also eliminates an unnecessary contact point, which is important in the current situation.
Personalized digital signage
One exciting technology that eVideon is looking to deliver is something adapted from the world of advertising – personalized digital signage. This is where a digital display can adjust the ads/content it is showing based on who is walking by or who is physically in the room. Fallon sees this technology as a way to deliver a more personalized experience to patients.
Imagine if the TV in a patient’s room could automatically display a photo and name of every staff member as they walked into the room. Staff would no longer be seen as “strangers” and patients would be far more comfortable knowing who is in the room with them. Wayfinding could be made less confusing if digital signs throughout the campus could show personalized directions for patients walking through the hallways (“turn left here Mr. Jones”).
No longer an amenity
“Up until this pandemic, there were many parts of the healthcare community that felt that these types of technologies and the whole idea of virtual engagement at the bedside was an amenity,” stated Fallon. “There will be a time when not having a patient engagement solution for the bedside will be like not having infusion pumps. It will be like walking into a hotel room today and seeing a Victrola on the dresser instead of a flat-screen TV.”
If I were in a hospital bed, I definitely would not want to see the Victrola-equivalent in my room. If I had a choice, I would want to be in a facility that thought enough of their patients to invest in bedside technology that kept me informed, educated and connected.
Watch my full interview with Jeff Fallon and learn:
- Why patient experience needs to be thought of as an outcome rather than a goal unto itself
- What has changed the most in the past year in terms of patient engagement
- What technologies, other than telehealth, we will be talking about in 12 months
For more information about eVideon, visit https://www.evideon.com/
This article is part of the #HealthIT100in100