At the University of California, Irvine, School of Medicine, our iMedEd curriculum has revolutionized how we approach medical education. In focusing our efforts on integrating the iPad into the curriculum to better educate our students, we have realized that patient education can benefit significantly as well.
For some of us that have "grown-up" on technology and mobile devices, the questions of "how, when, and why" to use the technology are self-evident - however, not everyone in the medical profession feels this way.
To create a uniform, engaging, and comfortable experience for our patients, the team at UC Irvine has put together this Mobile Technology Etiquette (MTE) checklist for health providers.
Our philosophy on technology use during patient encounters:
- Mobile technologies, such as the iPad, are a useful patient education adjunct, though they should not distract from the purpose of the encounter
- The patient is in charge of the flow of this encounter - if they feel more comfortable without mobile technology use during the discussion, please respect their wishes
How to Use the Checklist:
- Below is a list of 15 self-assessment questions to help you better integrate mobile technology into your patient encounters
- The questions cover three important phases during the patient encounter - Preparation, Presentation, and Conclusion
- This checklist is applicable for any mobile technology - smartphones, tablets, laptops - as well as for any type of patient encounter - simulated or real
Before the Patient Encounter
- Is your device professional and appropriate for a patient care environment?
- Cases - Is your case clean and free of non-UCI stickers or logos?
- Wallpaper and Lock Screen - Does your wallpaper and lock screen appear professional, hospital appropriate, and free of any controversial subject matter?
- Apps - Are your apps organized so that the patient education and clinical materials are on their own page and not adjacent to games and other recreational activities?
- Notifications - Are notifications turned off or silenced as to minimize disruptions?
- Battery Life - Does your battery have enough charge so that the patient encounter is not prematurely ended by your device powering off?
- Connectivity - Does the information that you will display require an internet connection?
- Logins and Passwords - If the material requires a login, do you have your password ready?
- Are you familiar with the resources available on your device and comfortable with using them in a patient care environment?
- Is the content you plan to display appropriate for the type of patient encounter expected?
- For example, a new patient examination may require content/instruction on health maintenance; a well-child check may require content/instruction on appropriate developmental stages; mental health screening may require content/instruction on depression and counseling resources
- Did you ask the patient if it is ok to use the device in the discussion and why you want to use it?
- Did you inform the patient if you intend to record or capture the session?
- Did you obtain expressed and signed consent from the patient for any still and video photography that you plan to capture during the encounter?
- Does the content contain any graphic or sensitive images that may be uncomfortable for the patient? If so, did you ask them if it is ok to proceed?
During the Patient Encounter
- How will you use the device?
- ...to share information with a patient
- Are you positioned in a location so that you and the patient can both easily see the screen?
- ...in an individual setting, to access information and enter data
- Does the device remains in the line of sight to the patient, so that you are maintaining eye contact as much as possible?
- ...in a team or rounding scenario, to access information and enter data
- Are you avoiding non-clinical tasks (such as email, social media, etc) while in the patient’s room?
- Did you ask if they can see/hear the information clearly?
- If not, did you adjust the viewing angle, increase the font size, clean screen, or turn on the audio?
- Are you taking breaks in your “presentation” to allow time for questions?
- Did you ask if they would like to see something again?
- Did you consult your supervising resident or attending about providing the patient with copies of the material that you discussed?
- Did you acknowledge any technical issues or difficulties that arose and finish the encounter without the device?
At the End of the Patient Encounter
- When you finished using your device, did you turn off the screen so that you could proceed to the remainder of the patient encounter without the device becoming a distraction?
- Did technical issues or difficulties arise?
- If so, were you able to troubleshoot the problem to prevent future issues?
- If you were unable to troubleshoot the problem, did you contact your support team?
We have begun using these questions with our third-year students in their clinical encounters and the feedback has been positive. We will also be launching an interactive tutorial that covers the above. More to come...stay posted!