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Patient Education TV Saves Time for Nurses & Physicians

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Patient Education TV Saves Time for Nurses & Physicians

Oct 16, 2014

Much like a welcome channel at a hotel, University of Utah Hospital has a patient education channel on all of its TVs. Listen to find out how this underutilized resource provides info about services in the area and informational videos about common illnesses and procedures. Darrin Doman, patient education specialist, says that the channel is there to provide valuable information to patients and save time for nurses and physicians.

Episode Transcript

Interviewer: You know how when you go to a new town and you go into the hotel and you turn on the TV and there's a channel that the hotel provides that tells you what's going on in the town, gives you great entertainment information. Did you know that there's a channel like that here at University of Utah Hospital that also gives great health information? Bet you didn't. You're going to find out about that next on The Scope.

Announcer: Medical news and research from University of Utah physicians and specialists you can use for a happier and healthier life. You're listening to The Scope.

Interviewer: Patient Education TV is in every single hospital room at the University of Utah Hospital and it's a great resource if the patients used it, but that's kind of part of the problem right now. We're with Darren Doman; he's a Patient Education Specialist at The University of Utah Hospitals. Tell us about Patient Education TV and what's your problem that you have with it right now?

Doman: Patient Education TV is a great resource for patients. I think it would really help with the work load of nurses, other health care professionals, by letting patients answer a lot of their own questions. It works very much like a hotel welcome channel. Every TV in the hospital defaults to channel 79 which is the home channel for Patient Education TV, and it narrates instructions for how to operate it. So right off the bat the patient should be able to pick up the phone get the remote and dial into the system. It's a little bit clunky. You have to dial into the phone and answer a couple of voice prompts before you get assigned a channel where you can drive the programming, and you'll find on our menu slides all sorts of information.
There's information about visiting hours, or where loved ones could eat, or if they're from out of town where they might be able to stay, or how to reserve a spot in the RV lot for people who have an RV and want to stay for a week while a loved one is in the hospital. There's information about Pastoral care and what the guest services folks have to offer. I'm sure that these are questions that come up from patients to staff all the time and if staff were driving the patient to Patient Education TV they wouldn't have to give their spiel all the time about this service because it's right there on the TV.

In addition to the information on the menu slides there's a bank of about 125 health related videos. The patients can watch and learn a little bit more about why they're in the hospital or different procedures that they're having or even just watch a welcome to the unit. We've been doing some custom videos lately that have been really popular with the patients because they get a feel for what the unit is all about, how it operates, and what to expect.

Interviewer: So as a health care provider these spiels that you have that are five minutes long for every patient I mean that can add up over time so just directing them to this resource where they're there anyway they can find out the information on their own, could save a lot of time. How would this work? So a patient's in the bed step number one the health care provider comes in and says, "Hey this is something you might be interested in." Is that how that would go or...?

Doman: Sure, "Here's a service that we offer you might want to check it out," and if they're on the maternity ward and they're kind of a savvy 20, 30 something they might be able to navigate it and figure it out themselves. If it's somebody who's got their arm in a cast, or they're elderly and not real tech savvy, you might have to walk them through it the first time, but I've tried to make it as easy as possible. We have channel guides in each of the patient rooms. This tends to be really important information for the patients, they always want to know what's on the TV, and now we have a channel guide. On the back of the channel guide I've put operating instructions for the Patient Education TV System. That should help walk them through it, but still if a provider can kind of show them the first time how to dial it up and look at it I think we're going to be better off.
I'm piloting a series of slides that talk about pain management strategies so rather than just relying on pain killers and drugs, what are some other things? There's a music trivia set of slides, there's a visual maze, there's a little word find game, these are what we call "boredom busters" and they're distracters that kind of help people forget that they're in pain. There's also a video about relaxation exercises and pain management techniques that are non-pharmacological and we have some videos of just soothing music and imagery, or bird sounds, or wave sounds. So it's a really an interesting, unique, and different way for using the system but it's still educational for the patient and might help reduce the number of call lights because, "I need my pain pill," "Oh, I need my pain pill, you haven't brought me my pain pill yet."

Interviewer: Sounds like there's a whole wide array of content on the channels. It sounds really kind of cool.

Doman: Yeah, I think it's a great resource and I'd love to see it get used more often. My mantra as of late has been, "Tune in, watch, repeat."

Interviewer: Okay. So yourself use it, if you're a health care provider and tell your co-workers as well about this great resource.

Doman: I like it.

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