Tell vs. Show vs. Involve: The Power of iDetailing for Patient Education

An old Chinese proverb states, “Tell me and I’ll forget; show me and I may remember; involve me and I’ll understand.”

Patients want and need to be involved with their healthcare, and the benefits of patient education have been well documented. However, with the vast amount of information available to patients today (some good and some bad), it’s more important than ever that the patient’s primary source of information and education be his physician.

The patient education process builds trust and better relationships between patient and surgeon, and often drives new patients through positive word of mouth—the the most powerful and effective form of advertising.

Tablet technology—specifically, the iPad—is emerging as the leading value tool for physicians to better involve and educate patients in a consultation setting. Valuable information can be instantly available and accessed by a physician at any point during a consultation. This information can then be demonstrated to the patient directly from the iPad. This is known as “iDetailing.”

Consider the effectiveness of a physician iDetailing a 60 to 90 second video to a patient highlighting the treatment she needs to receive while discussing key elements that thoroughly articulate everything she will experience.


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Once the short iDetailing session is complete, the physician might proceed by asking,

“What questions do you have on what we’ve just covered?”

Following the patient’s lead, the surgeon can call up a specific section or complementary information on the iPad within just seconds. The surgeon may continue,

“Was what we just walked through together helpful? What other questions do you have?”

Following all of his patient’s questions, the surgeon may finish,

“Great! Mrs. Patient, what is your email address? I’m sending you a copy of the video we just watched, as well as more in-depth information for you to review that I think you’ll find helpful. I’m sending this to you right now. As you think of additional questions, please let me know.”


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All of this can be completed from the iPad in a matter of seconds.

What is gained? Better patient education. Improved patient involvement. A fantastic patient experience.




This article was featured in the July 2012 issue of ORTHOPRENEUR magazine.


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