Cost-Effective Evidence Based Innovation in Patient Education

Yes, here it is: A cost-effective, evidence based innovation in patient education that facilitates patient engagement and individualization of care, while addressing health literacy issues.

It was invented by nurses at Phoenix Children’s Hospital in 2006, tested and refined, copyrighted and trademarked, and now shared as a free app for the iPad. Soon, it will be available for the iPhone and Android phone.

The concept is simple. When a child is admitted to the hospital, graphically show the family all the things they need to know before going home. Tell them they will learn these things throughout hospitalization, and you expect them to be able to teach back to you essential points, such as, “I can tell you the signs of infection” and “I can tell you who I will call if I see a sign of infection.” This teach back helps the health care providers know what they need to explain more clearly, and helps the family feel confident they know what they need to know to take care of their child safely at home, contributing to patient satisfaction. This process also opens the conversation, so families feel more comfortable asking questions they might not otherwise ask.

In the hospital this is done with paper posters, called Journey Boards. They initiate teaching at the time of admission, and cue conversations throughout the stay. Now, thanks to the Phoenix Children’s Hospital Patient & Family Alumni Leadership (PALs) group, a grant supporting family-centered care funded the app Our Journey™ in the Hospital. They have made it possible for Phoenix Children’s Hospital to offer this Journey Board electronically free for everyone to use. So now, we can initiate teaching in the hospital, but families could also come prepared with the app, and their questions.

The goal of this app is not to provide patients and families with information. Instead, this is an app that truly facilitates interactive patient education. Our Journey™ in the Hospital is appropriate for any diagnosis, and includes cues for teach back for all essential information required by Joint Commission. The hospital’s documentation system matches the boxes on the Journey Board, so it is easy for professionals of every discipline to document the status of teaching, based on evaluation of understanding through teach back.

Here is a quick video describing how Journey Boards work:

Here is a link to the app:

With modification in use, the app can also help facilitate conversations and evaluation of understanding in outpatient and clinic visits.

Yes, I am a Health Education Specialist at Phoenix Children’s Hospital. I did not invent Journey Boards, but I was instrumental in the development of the Our Journey™ in the Hospital app. I also wrote the section on the app for health care providers, providing references for the evidence behind the Journey Board. The hospital has 19 other Journey Boards for specific issues. We are now in the process of developing the app for Our Journey™ with Cancer. If you would like to fund future apps, please contact me.

©(2013) Fran London MS, RN

2 Responses to “Cost-Effective Evidence Based Innovation in Patient Education”

  1. Gretchen Serafin says:

    This concept could be applied to adult patients also- we use a placemat for CHF patient reminders, but I think the journey format could appeal to all ages

  2. Indeed. Phoenix Children’s Hospital is looking into adapting the Journey Board concept and selling templates to hospitals that serve adults. They will be able to add links to their own content. In the meantime, our pediatric apps are free for everyone to use.

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