Tuesday, June 07, 2011

Computerized nurse gives post-hospital instructions

Laura Landro, WSJ, June 7, 2011, says some hospitals are trying to send you home with tools to keep you away from a repeat performance.

Part of this is Medicare—it won’t pay for preventable complications.

I have come home many a time with a pack of blurry photocopies from various places describing steps I should take—and maybe some prescriptions. Do I take the latter from now on—or in addition to that I already took? Who can go to the drugstore?

Now, some hospitals are giving instructions in a video on your laptop—and send the actual meds home.

One approach is called RED from Boston Univ. The online, animated nurse who gives instructions is named Louise.

One doctor said he got more info on how to take care a goldfish than he got when he left the hospital.

The “Home with Meds” program prevents people not filling prescriptions.

The hospitals using RED (Re-engineered Discharge) say it saves money and nurse time.

Don’t forget confusion, pain and death. Those are patient deals.

When you get out of the hospital, you may be sleep-deprived and scared, or even have a fever. People also come home now with open wounds, drains, and complicated schedules. It’s hard to keep things straight. You are used to someone helping you.

Even if she’s on the computer.

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