Clear explanation is a very important component of communication between healthcare providers and patients, and can often suffer due to the inclusion of complicated clinical jargon that is not understood by the patient. One component of this project is to provide patient education in easy to understand layman’s terms that will hopefully educate patients if they do not understand their care.
The two corresponding HCAHPS questions for this feature are:
- During this hospital stay, how often did nurses explain things in a way you could understand?
- During this hospital stay, how often did doctors explain things in a way you could understand?
While doctors and nurses are trained to ask a patient if they understand the information they have been given, there are many reasons why a patient may not ask for clarification if they did not in fact understand. These could include:
- Fear of appearing uneducated or unintelligent
- Language barriers
- Stress due to their illness
- Feelings of intimidation
In many cases, the doctor or nurse may not recognize that the patient does not clearly understand their explanations, so this is a feature that is built into the game.
By giving the patients access to health education and explanations in layman’s terms within the game environment, this project aims to allow patients to read information without feelings attributed with those previously mentioned.
The virtual support groups will also allow patients access to forums that are comprised of other patients who are working through similar illnesses. This is meant to allow for the empowerment of the patient, and improve their comfort about speaking about their illness.
While patients may not understand the explanations given to them in person, they will hopefully be able to better understand their condition while interacting within the game environment. The game will encourage that they learn more about their illness and treatment, and will also encourage the patient to ask questions of the hospital staff. This will hopefully empower the patient to be an active participant in their care, and help providers develop a more personalized care plan.