The process of informed consent hasn’t changed over the last 60 years. Actually surprising if we consider how much else has changed in medicine over this time. We’ve achieved to transplant organs from one body to another, 3-D print prosthetics, make life easier for diabetics with insulin pumps, and detect tumors with CT scans. Medical students even started using AR technology to practice surgeries.
Pioneering innovations have rapidly advanced medical progress and helped to extend human life even further. A visual look back at medical standards 60 years ago quickly reveals how much has changed until today.
An operation theatre sixty years ago compared to today. Medical standards have changed immensley and new innovations have extended human life even further.
Yet when it comes to the education of patients before they undergo a state-of-the-art medical procedure there has been no real innovation over the last six decades.
The informed consent process still takes place on a paper-based level where patients are being educated about their operation on one to three pages filled with medical terminologies they barely understand. There is no proper standard for doctors how to handle this process and usually, it is considered rather a bureaucratic burden. As an effect of the lacking information material doctors must invest their valuable time to fill the patient’s education gap and answer repetitive questions.
In need for augmenting the verbal education some doctors even have come up with their own pre-operative information material as you can see in the picture.
A comic informs patients of the Charité cardiology department about the practice and benefits of cardiac catheterization @MONIKA SKOLIMOWSKA/DPA
We believe that modern patient education needs to be personal, digital and automated.
Based on interviews we conducted with doctors and patients we’ve identified five characteristics that should define a state-of-the-art patient education process:
- Smart usage and connection of patient data.
Based on patient data on the type of medical procedure and risk classification, educational material tailored to the patient can be created automatically.
- Simple user interface and handling for doctors
Digital applications are created to fit flawlessly into the day-to-day running of hospitals and support doctors managing the informed consent procedures.
- Digitally stored informed consent procedures.
Patients education is digitally stored, traceable, and can not be lost on the way. Algorithms protect from wrong or insufficient informed consent.
- Video as a medium to explain the medical procedure.
A visual explanation of the operation contributes to a better understanding of patients while leaving enough time for specific questions with the doctor. Viewable as often as desired from anywhere, thus time pressure for consent is relieved.
- Doctor-patient medical briefings on eye-level.
Recurring questions from patients are reduced as of the personal education videos. Higher rates of understanding in patients leave them feeling confident and empowered. Doctors can focus on relevant issues and thus safe time.
Mona Ciotta is working as Strategic Business Development Manager at the digital health start-up “medudoc” in Berlin. Coming from a digital marketing background she is now working on bridging the digital gap of evolved patient expectations, arbitrary regulations and economical pressured healthcare providers like hospitals and doctors. Through video animation, medudoc digitizes, automates and standardizes the analog and tedious practice of patient education before a medical intervention. You can contact her via mail (email@example.com) and LinkedIn.