Adler mentions that shorter appointments do not always leave time to empathize or to listen actively, even when caregivers have the best of intentions. However, some conditions require that kind of support, she said.
“Illness is stressful. Apps and other technologies like HerStory provide a place to get the support that might get missed in a 15- to 20-minute appointment,” she said.
OB/GYNs often deliver stressful and complex information to women who are afraid, confused, and sometimes even angry or heartbroken. These emotions can be palpable, but clinicians generally don't have adequate time to address sufficiently this emotional side of patient care. Information presented in a narrative form has been shown to help, reports Adler.
Story Telling Is Helpful
The value of story telling and sharing experiences and emotions has been documented by doctors and scientists,1-3 and it may be a safe bet that mobile technology that allows adults to join a community where they can receive immediate support not just for the day-to-day challenges of their disease, but for the sometimes difficult process of treatment, can be the answer. Allowing story telling to “come to life” for the millions of women currently going through medical treatment can be an important, effective supplement to clinical care.
Launched in 2007, IngagePatient was created by a nurse with the concept of eliminating the clipboard from patient care and providing a convenient platform for patients to self-manage their experience. It is a cloud-based method of sharing information through all care levels, from primary to specialty, acute, and hospital care.
When physician practices or hospital systems use IngagePatient, they are able to reach out to patients where they spend much of their time—on their smart phone. This mobile platform offers support to the patient so that they can participate in their care in a more convenient way. Available on any smart phone, this app allows patients to schedule their own appointments and request medication refills without the hassle of phone calls or being on hold. This is especially helpful for patients when they are in pain. After logging in, patients can access their prescription and dosage levels, set reminders and alerts to take their medication, and set up their appointments. It also allows for chronic disease management.
The benefit for physicians is convenience.
“The doctor can check on patients remotely,” says Amanda Ceccloni, vice president of marketing for IngagePatient. “It provides a very busy OB/GYN with many needed options, taking away the administrative burden.”
The company uses a secure hosting cloud-based infrastructure, which is HIPAA compliant. Since it is built with newer technology, it can integrate with any EMR.
Facebook is often overhyped, but it can offer women community support in real time. During the Million Women March for Endometriosis earlier this year, more than 10,000 women from around the world logged on to endometriosis communities on Facebook to share experiences and listen to others with endometriosis. Roughly six months after the event, endometriosis groups on Facebook are still going strong, with new communities such as EndoMetropolis, Endo Street, and the Endometriosis Book Club, which have evolved to offer support and connections to women with the disease.
1. Gowan J. Why sharing stories brings people together. Available at: http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/you-illuminated/201106/why-sharing-stories-brings-people-together. Accessed December 2, 2014.
2. Campion-Smith C, Austin H, Criswick S, et al. Can sharing stories change practice? A qualitative study of an interprofessional narrative-based palliative care course. J Interprof Care. 2011;25:105-111. Available at: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21043556. Accessed December 2, 2014.
3. Greenhalgh T, Campbell-Richards D, Vijayaraghavan S, et al, for the National Institute for Health Research Service Delivery and Organisation programme. The sharing stories model of diabetes self-management education for minority ethnic groups: a pilot randomized controlled trial. Available at: http://www.nets.nihr.ac.uk/__data/assets/pdf_file/0018/64503/FR-08-1504-111.pdf. Accessed December 2, 2014.