Healthcare Video Changes Lives

512px Doctors stethoscope 2 Healthcare Video Changes Lives %pageThe Atlantic Monthly recently ran a very engaging article about end of life care that documented the truly transformative power of healthcare video. As writer Jonathan Rauch describes, Dr. Angelo Volandes, an assistant professor at Harvard Medical School, is setting about to use the power of video to address a vexing problem—the difficulties families face in making decisions related to end-of-life care.

As part of their TeleCaring program, our client Capital Caring is also exploring the power of healthcare video.  Their plans calls for using healthcare video to connect doctors with hospice patients and their families, in cases where the hospice patient resides at home:

With video conferencing technology made by the company LifeSize, Capital Caring will be able to connect doctors with patients and their families via laptops or tablets. This enables doctors to check in on many times more patients each day, and creates the opportunity for delicate patients to receive care at home rather than having to travel from doctor to doctor.

Dr. Volandes’s healthcare video takes a different approach, but with similarly impressive results. He realized the power of healthcare video when he discovered that people need to see what medical interventions look like when a patient of his witnessed an emergency administration of CPR. His patient, a retired English professor dying of cancer, had been unable to decide whether she wanted to authorize this measure if her heart stopped beating. When his impulse to show her the ICU unit led to her seeing the doctors handle a “code blue,” she said that though she had understood his explanation perfectly, nothing could substitute for seeing the resuscitation in action. The patient opted for comfort care at home, and Dr. Volandes came to wonder if healthcare video could help more patients and their families make good decisions.

Dr. Volandes then conducted a randomized trial with his first healthcare video, which showed a patient with advanced dementia. He contrasted a group of patients who only heard a verbal description of advanced dementia with a group that heard the same description and viewed the healthcare video. Their doctors offered the patients the choice of life prolonging care (in which they’d be kept alive by any measure possible), limited care (an in-between option), and comfort care (in which care focused on keeping them comfortable). Eighty-six percent of the patients who watched the healthcare video selected comfort care; only 64 percent of patients who didn’t made the same choice. A subsequent study of a video showing a patient dying of cancer had even more striking results.

Dr. Volandes said, “Videos communicate better than just a stand-alone conversation. And when people get good communication and understand what’s involved, many, if not most, tend not to want a lot of the aggressive stuff that they’re getting.”

We think that end of life care is one of the most important aspects of healthcare, and find this research striking. We also believe that healthcare video may revolutionize doctor/patient communications in more ways to come. It all goes back to the transformative power of video.

What do you think is the new frontier in the use of video? Let us know in the comments!

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2017-04-10T09:44:21+00:00

2 Comments

  1. Yanira Rivera December 27, 2013 at 6:06 pm

    I am very grateful to Dr. Volantes and courageous and caring doctors like him for their efforts in providing a dignified path to the end of life. I hope to see his efforts take root in the medical community.

    • minimatters December 27, 2013 at 6:38 pm

      Yes–his work is wonderful!

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