Technology Creates Health Promotion Opportunities

Introduction: The Target Audience

The major purpose of this brief is to inform my colleagues about the potential of technology to create health promotion opportunities. Thus, nurses will be considered as the target audience. I will present the brief to them and invite them to discuss it with the aim of coming up with effective solutions for our patients.

A Technological Educational Program: Gaming and Heart Failure Risk

Having performed web research, I located a technological education program developed to promote healthy behaviors in patients suffering from heart failure (HF). The selected program that will be discussed in the current brief is Motivate4Change (Oosterom-Calo et al., 2014). This technological educational program was developed to promote the participation of HF patients in physical activities, and it involves two groups of users: patients hospitalized with HF and nurses engaged in the patient education process. It is expected that with the help of Motivate4Change, patients will report better adherence to taking medicine The program’s development was inspired and guided by the intervention mapping protocol for the planning of health promotion programs (Oosterom-Calo et al., 2014, p. e32).

Motivate4Change has two primary objectives: to teach hospitalized HF patients about medication adherence and physical activity and to encourage patients to follow these behaviors after being discharged from a hospital (Oosterom-Calo et al., 2014). The program consists of three modules: the introductory one, medication adherence module, and physical activity module. There are four constituents within each of the modules: an introduction, key messages to be remembered by patients, a video with data on physical activity and medication adherence, and evaluations and feedback. In the medication adherence module, patients are invited to answer multiple choice questions by clicking buttons on the touchscreen.

Further, the evaluation of obstacles to medication adherence is performed. In the end, the estimation of assumptions about medication is done (Oosterom-Calo et al., 2014). All phases are interconnected. Feedback messages are given to patients depending on their responses to assessment questions.

Motivate 4Change includes four out of six steps outlined by the intervention mapping protocol: the assessment of needs, the explanation of performance goals, the selection of approaches and behavior change methods, and the translation of all of these steps into an intervention program (Oosterom-Calo, te Velde, Stut, & Brug, 2015). Since the program is new, there are currently no statistical data on it. However, evidence-based practices of similar programs that have been implemented earlier are rather promising.

For instance, Lee et al. (2017) note that information communication technology-based teleHealth program has a potential to enhance clinical outcomes of HF patients. Another evidence-based research, performed by Holter, Johansen, and Brendryen (2016) indicates that eHealth programs stimulate therapeutic processes. Therefore, taking into consideration the modules included in Motivate4Change, it is possible to predict that it has a high potential to improve patient outcomes after discharge.

The Potential of Technology to Create Health Promotion Opportunities

With the development of technology, it has become easier for the healthcare industry to promote healthy behaviors and educate patients. A variety of programs aimed at encouraging people to engage in beneficial activities has been developed and has proved to be effective. As Caetano de Souza, Magalhães Moreira, and Pereira Borges (2014) mention, such technologies have given patients the possibility to reduce blood pressure, increase years of life, decrease weight, and reach many other positive health outcomes. Health information technology involves such aspects as self-assessment, data sharing, feedback, and support (Roberts, Chaboyer, Gonzalez, & Marshall, 2017).

A significant issue of technology is that it allows patients to share their results with doctors, which brings many advantages. First of all, a person saves time and money on traveling to a hospital. Secondly, a patient can obtain a prompt reply without having to wait in a queue. Finally, applications and games allow individuals to save results and compare them at different points, which helps to adjust the plan of treatment is necessary.

The Target Population and Barriers to Technological Programs

The target population for the discussed program is presented with patients suffering from heart failure. The major barrier to technological programs is concerned with the age of patients. Since many of individuals suffering from HF are not young, they may find it complicated to learn how to use a program. As a result, nurses meet a more challenging task of teaching such people how to use Motivate 4Change. The benefit of this and some other programs is that it includes educational options not only for patients but also for healthcare workers working with them. Other barriers may include not having a device on which a program can be used or inadequate understanding of innovations.

Technological programs associated with health promotion have been reported to be quite successful. eHealth and teleHealth options have been employed by many patients and nurses with highly positive results (Holter et al., 2016; Lee et al., 2017; Roberts et al., 2017). Meanwhile, there are still some issues that have not been successful in the process of introducing technology into healthcare. Kellermann and Jones (2013) note that the problems of patient-centeredness and the ease of use have not been solved by technology so far.

The Potential of the Technological Program to Affect Behavior Changes

The chosen program will help to affect the target population’s behavior and improve the health condition of HF patients. The impact will be realized through altering patients’ approaches to physical activity and medication adherence. To engage key stakeholders, I will prepare educational materials for nurses and instruct them how to communicate with patients and their families. The costs needed for the implementation include expenses on equipment (tablets, smartphones, a video recorder)and learning materials.

Since the devices on which a program can be launched belong to patients, there should be no excessive costs involved. Only in some exceptional cases, additional equipment will have to be borrowed to introduce the program to those patients who do not have any devices. Cost-effectiveness of the program is high since it will minimize costs on repetitive hospitalizations. Cost savings include the option of saving money on the part of patients and the state.

The Diffusion of Innovation Theory

The theory of diffusing innovation presupposes that people adopt new behaviors since they are a part of a social system (LaMorte, 2016). Such diffusion leads to individuals doing something in a way different from the one they used to employ. The core idea of diffusing innovation is that people have to perceive products or ideas as innovative (LaMorte, 2016). There are five adopter categories that help to understand the target population. Each these categories can be employed in the proposed program to some extent:

  1. Innovators – individuals who are eager to try the innovation first. In our project, such category will most likely be presented with younger patients.
  2. Early adopters – individuals who are opinion leaders. In the current program, this category comprises nurses who are more likely to realize the need to change.
  3. Early majority – individuals who adopt new products and ideas earlier than the average person (LaMorte, 2016). In our project, this category is represented by the majority of patients of all ages.
  4. Late majority – individuals that are skeptical of change and will not try anything new until they have seen that the majority has adopted it well. In the current program, the late majority will be represented by elderly patients and those who are resistant to change.
  5. Laggards – extremely conservative individuals who do not want to change at all. In our project, this group will include patients who do not believe in the positive outcomes and whose confidence has to be enhanced by statistical evidence and reports from adopters.

Evaluation of the Program’s Effectiveness

To assess the effectiveness of the proposed health promotion program, I will perform a pre- and post-program survey and analysis and compare the results. I expect that findings of the post-program survey and data analysis will be better than pre-program ones. Most likely, findings will indicate the improved health condition of the participants.

Conclusion

Technology has helped the society in many spheres, and healthcare is not an exception. It is crucial to implement educational programs in medicine to help patients improve their health outcomes. Also, using programs such as Motivate 4Change allows saving costs on repeated hospital admissions and has a high potential to improve the lives of patients suffering from heart failure.

References

Caetano de Souza, A.-C., Magalhães Moreira, T. M., & Pereira Borges, J. W. (2014). Educational technologies designed to promote cardiovascular health in adults: Integrative review. Revista da Escola de Enfermagem da USP, 48(5), 941-948.

Holter, M. T. S., Johansen, A., & Brendryen, H. (2016). How a fully automated eHealth program simulates three therapeutic processes: A case study. Journal of Medical Internet Research, 18(6), e176.

Kellermann, A. L., & Jones, S. S. (2013). What it will take to achieve the as-yet-unfulfilled promises of health information technology. Health Affairs, 32(1), 63-68.

LaMorte, W. W. (2016). . Web.

Lee, H., Park, J.-B., Choi, S. W., Yoon, Y. E., Park, H. E., Lee, S. E., … Sohn, D.-W. (2017). Impact of a teleHealth program with voice recognition technology in patients with chronic heart failure: Feasibility study. JMIR Mhealth and Uhealth, 5(10), e127.

Oosterom-Calo, R., Abma, T. A., Visse, M. A., Stut, W., te Velde, S. J., & Brug, J. (2014). An interactive-technology health behavior promotion program for heart failure patients: A pilot study of experiences and needs of patients and nurses in the hospital setting. JMIR Research Protocols, 3(2), e32.

Oosterom-Calo, R., te Velde, S. J., Stut, W., & Brug, J. (2015). Development of Motivate4Change using the intervention mapping protocol: An interactive technology physical activity and medication adherence promotion program for hospitalized heart failure patients. JMIR Research Protocols, 4(3), e88.

Roberts, S., Chaboyer, W., Gonzalez, R., & Marshall, A. (2017). Using technology to engage hospitalised patients in their care: A realist review. BMC Health Services Research, 17(1), 388.

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