Choosing the right education partner
The best parent education programs provide value in all of these areas: clinical, economic, patient engagement and patient satisfaction. At a minimum, an effective program should:
- Support patient engagement, understanding, and compliance by presenting information in easily digestive segments
- Be available for viewing in the hospital and accessible to parents from home
- Provide a consistent presentation of information to patients and families
- Reduce the amount of clinician time needed to repeat information and re-educate
- Assist in improving and shortening the discharge process
- Provide reporting to help with HCAHPS scores, JHACO audits, and patient completion documentation
8 key factors to consider when selecting patient education:
- Do the programs have the depth and breadth of content that you need for your specialty area?
- Does the education provider specialize in education for parents of newborns or simply provide basic educational modules in these areas so they can claim they cover all educational needs of a hospital?
- Is the content presented in a logical, organized fashion or merely a hodgepodge of information?
- Do the visual components take into account a diverse, multi-cultural audience?
- Is the content available prior to admittance, during the hospital stay, and post-discharge?
2. How are educational materials presented to your patient/parents?
- What technology is used to present parent education in the hospital? Why?
- Does your vendor provide a convenient way for parents and other caregivers to view the same information, in the same format, from home?
- Is the information able to be viewed on the types of devices most familiar to and used by, people of child bearing age (tablets, smart phones, computers)?
3. The education must appeal to a broad audience with multiple learning styles.
- Patients come from a large cross section of socio-economic, educational, cultural, and ethnic backgrounds. To effectively engage, teach, or coach such a diverse group is difficult and time consuming for staff.
- Your education partner should provide tools to overcome these challenges. Not all people learn the same way. To overcome learning barriers, lessons should utilize a multimedia, multi-sensory approach. Viewers should be able to hear the information at the same time that they can see readable text and illustrative graphics or videos.
- This approach enables learning by those who are: auditory learners, visual learners, hard of hearing, visually impaired, or tactile learners.
4. Are the educational programs available in more than one language?
- A good education provider should provide programs in both English and Spanish as a basic standard, plus have the ability to custom produce critical lessons in additional languages.
- It's best if the user can easily “toggle” from one language to another? This can be particularly important in Mother/Baby units and NICUs, given that people of child bearing age often speak English while other family members (like grandparents) and caregivers may not.
5. Does your provider permit customizations for your organization?
- Your education provider should be able to customize certain portions of their programs to fit your specific needs. Standard customizations should be included as part of the base price; others may require non-standard programming and production that you must pay for.
- Standard customizations typically include basic logo identification, a welcome message from your hospital, and the ability for parents and the staff to easily track whether the parents have viewed the lessons you consider essential.
- Paid customizations might include incorporating custom content into the program or providing content in other languages. This might include adding hospital-provided videos, text, success stories about your hospital, staff profiles, etc. The cost for custom programming will depend on the complexity of your request.
6. Warranties, Support, and Updates
- Does the education provider automatically provide full repair or replace warranties on any hardware (tablets, computers, etc.) that are part of their system?
- Is the provider responsive – both during the sales process and for support after the program has been implemented?
- Does the education provider provide periodic updates to the programs and technology that you get from them? How is this done?
7. What other hospitals use this provider and what do they say about them?
- Are the educational programs you are considering trusted tools used by hospitals similar to yours?
- Whether you are a large teaching hospital or a small community hospital, you will want to know what similar hospitals think of the vendor AND its programs.
8. Can your vendor help you get approval and funding to implement their program?
- Does their technology, reporting mechanisms, etc. help you or hinder you in terms of dealing with management, IT and the legal department? Ask them to explain these things to you.
- Can they help you cost-justify their program in a way that helps you secure funding for their programs?
- Can they provide support to you if your facility needs to secure external funding, like grants?
With MetaMD, you get a partner, not a vendor.
MetaMD ‘s mission is to improve healthcare through education and we are intent on being the best education partner possible for NICU and Mother/Baby units and the parents they serve.
Many vendors can provide individual, topical videos, brochures, and literature. Only a few organizations are completely committed to being your education partner and have the capacity, focus and internal culture necessary to be the best.
Clearly, there are many issues to consider when selecting patient/parent education and the company that supplies these programs to you. So, please, choose carefully.
We hope this starter guide is helpful to you.