Brief Reports

Tablet computers for hospitalized patients: A pilot study to improve inpatient engagement

Abstract

Inadequate patient engagement in hospital care inhibits high‐quality care and successful transitions to home. Tablet computers may provide opportunities to engage patients, particularly during inactive times between provider visits, tests, and treatments, by providing interactive health education modules as well as access to their personal health record (PHR). We conducted a pilot project to explore inpatient satisfaction with bedside tablets and barriers to usability. Additionally, we evaluated use of these devices to deliver 2 specific Web‐based programs: (1) an interactive video to improve inpatient education about hospital safety, and (2) PHR access to promote inpatient engagement in discharge planning. We enrolled 30 patients; 17 (60%) were aged 40 years or older, 17 (60%) were women, 17 (60%) owned smartphones, and 6 (22%) owned tablet computers. Twenty‐seven (90%) reported high overall satisfaction with the device, and 26 (87%) required ≤30 minutes for basic orientation (70% required ≤15minutes). Twenty‐five (83%) independently completed an interactive educational module on hospital patient safety. Twenty‐one (70%) accessed their personal health record (PHR) to view their medication list, verify scheduled appointments, or send a message to their primary care physician. Next steps include education on high‐risk medications, assessment of discharge barriers, and training clinical staff (such as respiratory therapists, registered nurses, or nurse practitioners) to deliver tablet interventions. Journal of Hospital Medicine 2014;9:396–399. © 2014 Society of Hospital Medicine

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