Knowledge in Action: Fostering Health Education through Technology

Knowledge in Action: Fostering Health Education through Technology

Theresa J. Barrett (New Jersey Academy of Family Physicians, USA)
Copyright: © 2017 |Pages: 26
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-1928-7.ch022
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This chapter will explore the possibilities and the challenges presented by technology in the area of patient education. Beginning with an overview of the use of the medical record in patient care, the chapter will move on to discuss the evolution of electronic health records (EHR) and the emergence of health information technology in the education of patients. Emerging technologies, the primary care physician's role in creating tailored education plans for their patients, as well as the importance of self-directness in learning both for the physician and the patient will also be discussed. The chapter will conclude with an overview of information and health literacy and how these impact shared-decision making and patient activation (the ability to be engaged in one's own health care). The overall goal of the chapter is to present how physicians and patients can use technology in order to facilitate better patient care and improve patient outcomes.
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From Ink To Bytes: The Emergence Of The Electronic Health Record

Patient case records have existed since ancient times. One of the earliest known records comes from the Edwin Smith Surgical Papyrus (Wilkins, 1964).1 When the papyrus manuscript (circa 3000-2500 B.C.) was finally translated in 1930 by James H. Breasted, it was found to be part of a surgical treatise and contained 48 patient case histories systematically arranged by injury and divided into sections: title, examination, diagnosis, and treatment (Wilkins, 1964).

In fifth century Greece, patient case records evolved significantly under the guidance of Hippocrates and his followers (Reiser, 1991a). Case records had two main purposes in the Hippocratic literature: demonstration of the natural cause of the illness and the description of the illness’ clinical course through close observation of the patient’s symptoms (Reiser, 1991a). Hippocratic cases were recorded chronologically and followed a set format. The record began with the preceding cause of the illness and the presenting symptoms of the patient. Next recorded were the actions taken by the patient and the resulting symptoms that prompted the patient to seek care. This was followed by notes on the progress of the illness. Such progress notes were only included in the patient record when there was an important change in symptoms. Case reports concluded with disclosure of the results of the case, which was often death (Reiser, 1991a). The chronologic order of the case gave the Greek physician insight as to when therapeutic action should be taken and focused attention on the symptoms that would most predict the outcome, as a tenet of Greek medicine was not to initiate therapy which would have no effect on the course of the illness (Reiser, 1991a).

In the seventeenth century, sickness was thought to be caused by a single mechanism recognized since the time of Hippocrates, namely the disruption of the equilibrium of the four main building blocks of the body (blood, phlegm, black bile, yellow bile) (Reiser, 1991a). Thomas Sydenham, a seventeenth century physician, recognized that there was a pattern to the symptoms his patients presented with and he began to hypothesize that illnesses could be categorized by their characteristic symptoms (Reiser, 1991a). With this premise, Sydenham began to develop a universal classification of diseasethat has become the basis for the diagnostic process in modern medicine (Reiser, 1991a).

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