Robert Bober, MD: Empowering Patients During a Hospital Stay

Strategic Alliance Partnership | <b>Ochsner Health System</b>

Patients in the Optimal Hospital wing are given iPads that let them access their medical records, see their care team, and view the schedule of their upcoming tests.

The Optimal Hospital program at Ochsner Medical Center in New Orleans has introduced ideas to change hospital room design and the patient experience during a hospital stay. Another focus of the program is patient empowerment Robert Bober, MD, Director of Nuclear Cardiology at Ochsner Medical Center, told MD Magazine®.

MD Mag: What is the patient empowerment component of Optimal Hospital?

“This is what studies have shown: if you can get the patients involved with their care—as opposed to just being apathetic—they have better outcomes,” said Bober. A key feature for empowerment is the iPad each patient receives that gives them access to their own medical records, upcoming tests and procedures, and allows them to make requests directly to the care team. Robert Bober, MD: Patient empowerment is utterly huge, we do know. This is what studies have shown: if you can get the patients involved with their care—as opposed to just being apathetic—they have better outcomes. We provide all patients with an iPad and on it we have a bedside chart where the patient will have access to all of their medical records, educational videos. They can also make requests such as calling their nurse, “I need to go to the bathroom.” We used to have the big gadgets where you push the button and you wait on the intercom—this is all now done completely electronically, so that as soon as the patient says, “I need to go to the bathroom,” that activates their care team. It immediately sends their care team a text and they say “okay, well you know what, Ms. Smith needs to go to the bathroom and we'll get on it.” There's no more—it calls a central desk and then the central desk is trying to find the nurses—immediately the care team knows what the patient needs.

The other thing I'll point out is that we we're never surprised anymore by who uses the iPads. You would think that the iPads would only be used by younger patients or patients that are more technologically savvy. That is completely untrue. We find that hands-down the majority of patients—even above the age of 70—are using their iPads during the admission, either requesting things or looking at the records. And the things that are most commonly looked at are their records, and what tests they're going to be having, and who their team members are. So, it's not just going on the iPad and you know asking for more water, this is actually getting involved with their care.