Borgess Medical Center Uses Customized Patient Education to Improve Clinical Outcomes

Borgess Medical Center, a 422-bed full-service acute-care hospital in Kalamazoo, Mich., is in the midst of implementing new patient education initiatives with the goal of driving improvements in healthcare literacy and clinical outcomes. To accomplish this, the hospital is using the TIGR interactive patient education system from TeleHealth Services. These interactive systems will help drive improvements in patient understanding of their medical conditions, enhance post-discharge care, and better engage patients, families and caregivers. 

"Hospitals across the country are focusing on ways to improve health services and patient satisfaction ratings," says Anita Heyman, RN, MSN, NEA-BC, administrative director of the medical-surgical/cardiac departments. "Now, new government standards being applied to the reimbursements we receive for Medicare and Medicaid services are linked to financial incentives that target improved patient education, care coordination, and clinical efficiency. Borgess Medical Center has already embraced these opportunities for continuous improvement, and now we are implementing additional programs to enhance these services." According to Heyman, the hospital is implementing these tools to increase compliance and understanding, measure service responsiveness, and improve clinical outcomes. The intended goal, she adds, is to reduce readmissions and improve patient satisfaction ratings.

The TIGR interactive patient education system was developed to target and deliver customized patient education at the bedside through health videos that target the patient's specific illness, medical condition, or recovery need. Nurses assign these videos to patients and families as part of their care-coordination efforts, and then use a "teach-back" method to follow up and determine if the patient understands content or needs additional support. The hospital has also linked their TIGR patient education system to its electronic medical records system, for documentation of education and further operational efficiencies.

Borgess has selected a wide variety of video topics relating to proper hand hygiene, cardiac care, maternity, heart disease, diabetes management, wound care,  and more. Efforts are underway to ensure that every surgical patient, prior to discharge, views a video on pain management as well as other assigned, condition-specific videos. The hospital is planning to expand educational subjects to include infection control, orthopedic care, and other topics that offer critical information patients and families need post discharge. Additionally, the hospital is creating custom menus and videos focusing on post-operative care and many titles are available in Spanish as well.

"Patients respond to these videos, and to the related discussion with their hospital caregiver," Heyman notes. "The families can watch and also ask questions. With these tools we can better educate our patients and empower them in the recovery process. That improves their quality of life and reduces the likelihood they'll end up back in the hospital."

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