Along with thousands of other people over 65, I”m scheduled for a partial knee replacement this summer. As part of the excellent pre-operational education provided by Vancouver General Hospital, I was able to access a simple 3 minute video by my surgeon, Dr. Bas Masri, to demonstrate what is involved in the operation, using a model knee joint.
This is just part of a rapid escalation by health services in using e-learning to educate patients and potential patients.
For instance, a partnership between British Columbia’s Heart Failure Network, Cardiac Services BC and the Interior Health Agency has resulted in some very simple but effective videos for patients with heart problems. From the web site:
There are about 500,000 Canadians living with heart failure and 50,000 new patients being diagnosed each year. (Ross, Howlett and Arnold, 2006). Health failure is also one of the most expensive chronic diseases in BC with an annual estimated cost to the health care system of $590M. HF is also the most common cause of hospitalization of people over 65 years of age and has an average one-year mortality rate of 33% (Ross, Howlet, and Arnold, 2006). Accurate and timely diagnosis is critical to initiate treatment that will relieve HF symptoms, reduce hospitalizations, diminish costs and improve survival. A provincial strategy to improved HF services and care was developed in 2009 with Health Authorities commencing their implementation strategies in 2010.
“This project was driven by the recognition that patients discharged from hospital did not always access conventional supports available to help them learn to manage their condition,” said Marie Hawkins, Network Director of Cardiac Services. “We needed to find an alternate way to provide support that was both client friendly and easily accessible. These interactive videos help fill that gap.”
I anticipate that this type of informal learning will grow rapidly over the Internet, as governments realise that patient empowerment is not only good medicine, but also saves a great deal of money in the long run.