Digital healthcare solutions offer numerous possibilities for sharing knowledge among both healthcare professionals and patients.

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Bedside terminals and digital signage

According to a survey conducted by the Beryl Institute, improving the patient experience was one of the top three priorities for healthcare organisations in the USA. Some of these, moreover, believe that rolling out bedside terminals for communication and entertainment could help achieve this objective. A similar trend is emerging in Europe too: a number of large-scale deployments of such technologies have been carried out in Belgium, for example, where 500 bedside terminals was rolled out by Econocom at Mont Godinne and Charleroi hospitals. Charleroi is initially conducting a pilot project for 55 bedside terminals (see photo) and plans to roll out up to 800-900 units within two years.

So what are the benefits of bedside terminals?

  • For patients: an intuitive interface, the ability to get in touch with family and friends via e-mail, VoIP or video, access on-demand educational content or entertainment, order specific services from the hospital, complete administrative forms online, browse the web, and generally avoid the stress and anxiety usually associated with hospital stays.
  • For healthcare professionals: easy access to patient records, save time and improve quality of service.
  • For the healthcare establishment: enhanced brand image, improved patient satisfaction, lower costs thanks to a multi-function terminal, and the possibility of offering paid  on-demand services.

According to a survey conducted in the USA into the use of digital signage in hospitals, the main advantage as seen by both patients and caregivers is that health-related information displayed this way is easier to recall, more interesting and credible.

Sharing information via secure email

At the end of June this year, ASIP Santé (the French Agency for Shared Healthcare IT Systems) developed MSSanté, a secure email for healthcare professionals, which can be accessed via PCs, smartphones or tablets. MSSanté will, according to the press release, “mean that for the first time healthcare professionals can exchange sensitive patient data via email, securely and in compliance with regulations”. The email system will gradually be rolled out at French healthcare organisations.

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Remote training with e-learning

New technologies are also increasingly used for training in the healthcare sector. In the Midi-Pyrenees region in France, for example, nursing students can attend university course via web conference, either in real time or via podcast. Students can thus learn at their own pace and familiarise themselves with the new technological tools in their field.

Publishing digital document catalogues on specialist web TV channels is another innovative new way for future healthcare professionals to learn:  Canal-U, the digital university’s TV channel, offers modules on eight subjects, including health and wellbeing sciences. Canal U has also uploaded over one hundred anatomy 3D training modules  (pictured) approved by Lyon University. Some of the teaching material available is based on the MOOC model (see the e-media article: MOOC: the new generation of remote teaching) and translated into several languages, including English. Similar initiatives have been carried out in other countries: in the UK, for example, e-L-H (e-Learning for Healthcare) is a major project launched by the NHS (National Health Service) and healthcare professionals in order to promote medical training “anytime, anywhere’.

Serious-gameMaking learning fun: serious games

Widely used in the service industry, these interactive learning tools are also being applied to medical training in specific situations, such as emergencies or teaching midwives how to handle new-borns using immersive motion simulation. They can also be used by patients, to help them learn in a light-hearted way about the condition they are suffering from, or to help diabetic children carry out their daily tests and insulin jabs. Kinect technologies can also be used in physiotherapy for patients with mobility impairment.

Companies which specialise in serious games, such as Daesign in France and i-maginary in Italy, have developed tailored serious games for specific situations, such as training medical staff in how to deal with elderly patients or teaching people about good nutrition.

To find out more: see the slideshare presentation: Serious Games and digital interactive technologies for Healthcare.