January 20, 2018

Methodology

 Continuing Health Education

Although many patient education initiatives are currently underway, a huge segment of our population is not being reached by traditional health education or health promotional activities. For these reasons, solutions that help information sources communicate their messages effectively to their target audiences are desperately needed.

PHIERS (patent pending methodology) provides a reliable platform for achieving these goals, by addressing the informational needs of patients, families, healthcare professionals, and organizations, while simultaneously overcoming many of the communication challenges associated with language, culture, disability, education level, and technology.

PHIERS will:

  •  Help knowledge sources to create, manage and disseminate “tailored” content that appeals to specific needs of knowledge workers and consumers alike;
  • Complement existing health literacy initiatives and address the informational needs of the underserved, which includes (but is not limited to) the elderly, indigent, illiterate, disabled and immigrant; and
  • Provide a robust and scalable infrastructure for knowledge sharing and collaboration at a cost far less than most have projected and/or expect.

A Collaborative and Comprehensive Solution

Based on the findings and recommendations in numerous reports sponsored by the nation’s top health and civic organizations, PHIERS will deliver measurable results in a timely fashion by providing a robust, scalable and convenient means to get the right information to the right person “on-demand”… in a manner respectful of and responsive to individual preferences, needs, and values.

PHIERS will provide reliable and equitable access to healthcare information by:

  •  Overcoming traditional barriers of accessibility, culture, technology and preference.
  • Providing access through a broad number of venues using proven training methods and technologies in powerful, new ways;
  • Accommodating patient and provider time constraints, learning styles, requirements, and objectives.

PHIERS will save time, money, and effort by:

  •  Helping knowledge sources create, manage and disseminate actionable health information in an efficient and sustainable manner;
  • Complementing existing healthcare information resources and extending their reach to meet the needs of the underserved;
  • Overcoming the shortcomings of traditional training and distance learning methods, while improving on their strengths.

To summarize, PHIERS is a reliable, scalable and cost-effective means to help knowledge sources get their message to the people who need it most, while allowing them to have a positive and profound impact on their target audience almost immediately, upon deployment.


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Health Promotion and Primary Prevention

Although genetic factors play a role in determining why people get ill, it has been known for a long time that diet and lifestyle have enormous influence in preventing, or at least mitigating the onset of many degenerative illnesses such as coronary heart disease and obesity. If we are to prevent apparently healthy people from becoming ill in the future, a higher emphasis on health promotion is required, along with an effective means to get the right information into the right hands, before they get sick!.

Health literacy plays an important role in health promotion, particularly as it applies to issues of primary prevention. Consider the following excerpts from recent speeches[8] delivered by the Surgeon General:

  • Instead of helping people learn how to stay healthy, we wait for people to get sick and then spend billions every year trying to make them healthy again.
  • Low health literacy is one of the largest contributors to our nation’s epidemic of overweight and obesity, which is the fastest-growing cause of disease and death in America today.  In fact, it has reached epidemic proportions.
  • Minorities are faring worse than the overall population.

There are many simple, preventive measures many Americans can take to reduce poor health outcomes. However, providing convenient, credible, reliable access to user-friendly health information in time to promote healthier lifestyles is a great way help people change their lives instantly, and PHIERS is the key!


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Health Disparities and the Digital Divide

Health Disparities and the Digital Divide

Compelling evidence indicates that race and ethnicity correlate with persistent, and often increasing health disparities among U.S. populations.

The future health of the nation will be determined to a large extent by how effectively we work with communities to reduce and eliminate health disparities between non-minority and minority populations experiencing disproportionate burdens of disease, disability, and premature death.”                                                                                                                            – Office of Minority Health

Unequal Opportunity?

Residence plays a major role in determining health treatments, treatment patterns and health outcomes; and race, ethnicity, socio-economic status often play a major role in “choices” about residence.  For these reasons, racial and ethnic minorities and the elderly suffer disproportionately from poorer health, have lower socio-economic status, are “uninsured” and “underserved” by over-burdened “local” health services, and have limited access to high quality “referral” networks. They also suffer disproportionately from low health literacy; even though the majority of people with low literacy skills in the United States are white, native-born Americans.

Disparities often lead to differences in deaths from heart disease, cancer, stroke and diabetes (the four top killers of Americans), as well as mental illness. To eliminate health disparities and improve medical outcomes, health care organizations and service providers must provide information that its intended audience identifies with, understands and can act upon…

Culturally sensitive materials must acknowledge cultural differences and addresses these differences in the choice of content, language and visual elements, so that the intended message is communicated accurately and appropriately to its intended audience.

– Partnership for Clear Health Communication

Economic growth has long been considered a powerful antidote to poverty, however, the poverty rate continues to rise, as does the percentage of people without health coverage.  To combat the effects of poverty and simultaneously improve the health status of residents in economically disadvantaged areas, “eHealth” alone isn’t enough.

A comprehensive, wrap around approach to personal and community enrichment is required, and ISSOP(powered by PHIERS) may be the key.

Health Disparities and the Internet

The National Library of Medicine defines interactive health communication (IHC)[11] as “the interaction of an individual—consumer, patient, caregiver or professional—with or through an electronic device or communication technology to access or transmit health information or to receive guidance and support on a health-related issue.”  PHIERS is an “IHC” in the truest sense, as it facilitates the effective transfer of health information between information sources, workers and consumers.

What the Internet does not lack is abundant information. What the Internet does lack is quality control over the information that is there, the way that it is organized, and a convenient means to access it. – Center for Information Therapy

According to National Cancer Institute[12], many studies show that certain ethnic minorities and low-income, less-educated populations in the USA have limited access to electronic information about health. This phenomenon, often referred to as the “digital divide”, has been identified as a special problem in healthcare that can lead to significant disparities in care, morbidity and mortality.

PHIERS reaches across the digital divide to serve the informational needs of underserved populations by accommodating differences in language, cultural tradition, disability and technology in a scalable and cost-effective manner.

PHIERS also supports the best in distance learning and instructional methods to provide learning experiences that are enjoyable, effective, measurable and complete.

 


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Patient Education and Literacy

Health Literacy: The Need Exists…

Every day, patients are asked to make difficult medical choices that they are not qualified to make. For these reasons, healthcare professionals often provide patients with health information that is comprehensive, but often seen as confusing and uninviting. According to a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association[5] (JAMA), only 9 percent of clinical decisions made during patient-physician interactions meet the criteria for informed consent.

The major obstacle to achieving a more informed and active healthcare consumer is the lack of basic health literacy in the United States[2]. – Council of State Governments

Data suggests that most patients fail to maximize the benefits during interactions with the healthcare system because they lack the knowledge to do otherwise. Why? Because uneducated patients have limited options and their ability to achieve their most desired medical outcomes are significantly diminished. For these reasons, less than optimal medical outcomes are the result, and medical litigation is on the rise; limiting access to quality care for all.

Low health literacy is a silent and costly epidemic…

The AMA Foundation estimates that nearly 90 million Americans (46% of the adult population) are unable to read or understand medical education handouts, instruction forms, consent forms, or history questionnaires. These patients may be unable to follow recommended health guidelines, take medications as directed, or monitor basic symptoms.

Limited literacy skills are a stronger predictor of health status than age, income, employment status, education level, or racial or ethnic group. – Partnership for Clear Health Communications

Patients with low literacy skills typically have poorer health, consume more health care resources, have more frequent doctor visits and longer hospital stays. Recent studies show that as little as 10% of the population consumes 80% of the resources[24], which amounts to an estimated $73B in unnecessary medical expenditures every year[6]. In addition, the total cost of obesity exceeded $117 billion[4] in 2000 alone. Expenditures are unknown for Intangible and other important costs such as unnecessary human suffering, pain and frustration, less time with family and friends; and anxiety about the future.

Although these costs are excessive and largely preventable, current trends suggest that these problems will persist as long as patients are asked to assume more responsibility for self-care while their health literacy levels remain low, and available tools continue to miss the mark.

A Viable Alternative…

PHIERS can help the healthcare industry improve the quality, impact and reach of “actionable” health information in a manner acceptable to most health care information consumers, including special needs groups like the elderly, low income and racial/ethnic populations.

PHIERS will make it easy for patients to access, understand, and act on the information provided to them by their caregivers, which will allow providers to focus on the “quality” of care, rather than the “quantity” of information transferred.


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Abstract

Building Healthier Lives from the Inside – Out

 

PHIERS (pronounced “fires”) is the “Personalized Healthcare Information, Education and Retention System”.  PHIERS provides the technical means through which health professionals will assist individuals seeking to improve their health status and quality of life, while improving the quality and consistency of care and reducing operating expenses.  This is accomplished by improving the quality of patient-provider interactions, overcoming the barriers to effective/actionable health communication and combating the negative effects of health disparities and “low health literacy.”

Patients with low health literacy typically have poorer health, have more frequent doctor visits and longer hospital stays, and are responsible for an estimated $73 billion in unnecessary medical expenditures, annually. According to the Surgeon General, health literacy may be even more essential to health promotion, particularly when addressing issues of primary prevention regarding otherwise avoidable diseases, like obesity, one of the fastest growing causes of death and disease in America today [22].

To deal with the issues of affordability, access and quality,

consumers must be equipped to better manage their health…

In theory, an educated patient would ask better questions and feel empowered to prevent medical errors before they occur. Bridging the information gap between patients and their health care providers is, therefore, the first major hurdle to increasing health literacy and improving the overall health of our nation. Helping patients comply with self-care instructions and health promotional activities is the second.  Maximizing the quality, impact and reach of health interventions that work is the third.

Based on the findings and recommendations of the nation’s top health and civic organizations, including AHRQ’s Healthy People 2010 Action Plan, PHIERS will deliver measurable results in a timely and cost-effective manner by linking its usage directly to its impact on medical outcomes.  PHIERS will also improve the quality, impact and reach of “actionable” health information in a manner acceptable to most health care information consumers, including special needs groups like the elderly, low income and racial/ethnic populations, who often have different languages, cultural traditions, and sources of information about health.

With PHIERS, patients and physicians will benefit from improved communications; patients will play a more active role in managing their health and enjoy better medical outcomes; medical mistakes will be avoided before they occur and funding organizations will enjoy significant reductions in unnecessary medical expenditures. In short, PHIERS improves the lives of everyone it touches, from the inside-out!

To learn more, please download the PHIERS Overview by clicking HERE.

PHIERS is an effective response to the “first public health crisis of the 21st century[6]”and is a catalyst for its realization, today!


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