Let’s not do cool things just to do cool things

“Let’s not do cool things just to do cool things.
Can we please do cool things to actually
improve the lives of people
with real struggles in the real world?”
— Kirti Patel, MD

In context, Dr. Patel said this when discussing why high tech innovations in health care are great, but would be far more useful if they were available to patients in real life.  The real revolution could come when we insure everyone, and address social determinants of health.

But this quote can also apply to what is happening to innovation in patient education today.  Many think the application of technology to patient education is the solution to offer. However, there is little evidence that this actually improves the lives of people with real struggles in the real world.  For example, patients in a health crisis or with chronic diseases, aren’t in app or video deficit.  They need solutions to their problems.  They need to learn better ways to function or cope.  They need someone to listen to their concerns, and offer resources or information that specifically address their challenges.

Here, real innovation would be the application of evidence-based knowledge we have already gathered about how to most effectively and efficiently teach.  We need to apply the time-tested ways to assess needs, explain clearly, evaluate understanding, and coach behavior changes over time.

Maybe not cool things, but very cool outcomes.

Readers know the research is summarized in my book, No Time to Teach:  The Essence of Patient and Family Education for Health Care Providers.  It’s not rocket science.  But it works.

Source of quote:  http://ow.ly/nsPJ30goOuh

©2017 Fran London, MS, RN

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