Applying video as a tool to disseminate health care IT research


JSI is harnessing the power of video to disseminate research findings. We’ve just completed the first two in a series of videos for the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. The AHRQ Health Information Technology Portfolio is using these videos to highlight projects it funds to advance health IT. Video offers an innovative way to alert researchers to new approaches to using information technology strategies to improve health care.

In one informational video, we detailed research on the use of “standing orders” within electronic health records (EHRs). Another video featured the story of researchers who use patient-specific information from electronic health care records to create individually-tailored educational DVDs.

Our most recent project depicts the results of a study in which primary care providers use a reminder system embedded in the EHRs to help improve efficiency. When a patient visits a primary care provider, a medical assistant (MA) will often handle the initial intake – taking vital signs such as temperature and blood pressure. Electronic standing orders within that patient’s electronic health records alert the MA when preventive tests, procedures, or vaccines are due for a patient.

The video focuses on one practice within the study in which standing orders were successfully implemented. Researchers found that the automated system saves time for the physician, who doesn’t have to leaf through records or calculate time intervals, and empowers the MA to schedule tests or prepare vaccinations rather than wait for instruction from the doctor. Electronic standing orders also allow the patient to handle routine procedures at the same time as an urgent care visit, and cuts down on human errors, among many other advantages.

Our first video project features the production of individualized DVDs in English and Spanish that are created using a simple software program that reads the patient’s electronic health record and selects video segments for the DVD based on which specific medicines the patient takes. The DVDs feature actors who portray older patients demonstrating proper use of medications. There are segments on topics such as insomnia, depression, heart failure, and diabetes.

In preparation for filming the segments, the research team conducted focus groups and administered surveys to groups of English and Spanish-speaking low-income older adults in Rhode Island and Massachusetts to understand how older adult patients make decisions about their medications – such as deciding to skip doses or cut pills in half to save money.

Researchers discuss some of the challenges they faced in creating the segments, including finding older actors of different ethnic backgrounds and in writing Spanish language scripts that were culturally and linguistically appropriate. The study found that most patients reported that the information on the DVDs was helpful, and that the length, timing and supporting print materials were just right. Half of the patients watched the DVDs more than once and many reported sharing them with family involved in their health care. As a result, researchers say that video shows promise as a way to help older adults in low-resource urban safety-net settings with their medication challenges.

AHRQ hopes that using video to spread knowledge about health IT research will result in further innovation in IT methods as an avenue to address health care issues.

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