AAOS Bulletin - February, 2006

Learn to use Internet-based patient education tools

Hands-on help, resources offered at 2006 Annual Meeting

By Nancy Fehr

According to a recent Harris poll (July 2005), about 117 million adults have gone online looking for health or medical information. Eighty-five percent of those who have searched the Internet for health information have done so one or more times in the past month. Nine in 10 of these searchers say that the health information they found online has been reliable (37 percent “very reliable” and 53 percent “somewhat reliable”).

You can help these patients find your practice online, using free tools and resources available from the Academy. Even more important, you can connect them with accurate orthopaedic patient education information from the Academy’s Web site. For more information, stop by the AAOS Internet/Your Orthopaedic Connection booth, in Academy Row, directly across from the AAOS Resource Center Bookstore in Hall B of McCormick Place during the Annual Meeting in Chicago.

Get wired this year

Make this the year you start taking full advantage of all the valuable Internet-based patient education programs available through the AAOS. Using Internet-based patient education can benefit your orthopaedic practice in several ways. Key advantages include:

• Helping patients become better informed about their medical conditions. Knowledgeable patients generally are more compliant with treatment protocols, leading to increased successful outcomes and additional referrals to your practice.

• Saving you valuable time otherwise spent in repeated explanations about basic information. By providing patients, family members and caretakers with direct links to online information, you ensure that everyone receives the same message and can refer to it as often as necessary.

Expert guidance on site

Members of the Internet and Patient Education committees and AAOS staff will be on site throughout the Annual Meeting to provide hands-on, expert instruction. They’ll guide you through the easy process of developing and enhancing your own customized OrthoDoc Web site.

You can ask questions and learn tips for using AAOS tools and resources to link your patients with the educational articles offered on the Academy’s patient education Web site, Your Orthopaedic Connection.

When you visit the booth, you can pick up free resources and handouts. In addition, you can:

• Build your own OrthoDoc Web site. You can customize the site and enhance identification by including a photo of yourself. There’s no need to hire someone; digital photography will be available at the booth during the Annual Meeting. Add your practice logo and information, choose a Web site address and link to educational content for patients in your areas of orthopaedic focus. Voila! You’ve got a practice Web site.

• Create customized “Rx for patient education” printouts. Everyone downloads information from the Web. These customized forms—complete with your name, logo and practice information—can be given to patients with an individualized checklist of articles that you want them to read. Color, prescription-sized “Rx for patient education” notepads are also available. The notepads have Your Orthopaedic Connection Web address; jot down your own Web site or the name of a topic or condition article you want the patient to read.

• Learn to use Your Orthopaedic Connection. Browse the Web site and pick up a table of contents for the site. You’ll find nearly 500 easy-to-read articles written for patients. Topics are organized in categories including Arm/Elbow, Arthritis, Children, en Espaņol, Foot/Leg, Hand, Hip, Injury Prevention, Joint Replacement, Knee, Neck, Osteoporosis, Patient-Centered Care, Patient Safety, Shoulder, Spine, Sports/Exercise, Tumors, Women’s Health and General Information.

Sign up for free e-newsletter. Submit your e-mail address to automatically receive the Academy’s quarterly e-newsletter with links to new patient education content as it is added to the site.

“Patient education has never been more important to your practice than it is today,” says J. Sybil Biermann, MD. “Patient education not only improves compliance with treatment regimes and patient satisfaction, it can also reduce length of hospital stay and may even reduce your exposure to a medical liability claim.”

Take advantage of the resources and expertise available at the 2006 Annual Meeting and start using Internet-based patient education resources such as Your Orthopaedic Connection and your own OrthoDoc Web site. Stop by Academy Row to learn more.

Nancy Fehr is a patient education specialist in the communications departement. She can be reached at fehr@aaos.org

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