photo: contributed

UBC Okanagan study evaluates virtual educational care

The study looks to bring the healthcare mountain to the patient

With health information just one-click away, it’s not surprising that 70 per cent of Canadians consult the internet before their doctor. And if a patient has to travel to see a physician, the numbers of internet searches increase.

UBC Okanagan nursing researchers are examing the health impact of virtual information compared to in-person delivery. Their latest study, looking at virtual chronic disease education, showed that this approach works equally well, if not better, than the traditional in-office approach.

“Educational support is essential for those with chronic diseases, such as diabetes, heart disease and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD),” said Kathy Rush, professor in UBC Okanagan’s School of Nursing. “As many patients turn to the internet for information, it is important to validate that this delivery system is effective and that the material is reliable.”

Rush adds that virtual education has the benefit of reaching populations in remote communities or those with limited access to healthcare services.

RELATED: UBC Okanagan student raises awareness about sexual violence on campus

“Telehealth and virtual healthcare options offer chronic disease patients unprecedented access to services,” Rush said. “This field is changing quickly and many options are available, such as websites, apps, video-conferences and text messages. However, the best approaches are still unclear.”

To help clarify, Rush and her colleagues, including Robert Janke, associate chief librarian at UBC, evaluated 16 published studies that assessed 2,870 participants from seven countries comparing virtual versus in-person care. Taken together, these studies show that education delivered virtually to patients with chronic diseases was equivalent or more effective than usual care at improving clinical outcomes, disease knowledge, quality of life and use of healthcare.

“These results are encouraging as changes in clinical outcomes are one of the most important quality indicators of chronic disease management,” said Rush.

RELATED: UBC Okanagan welcomes alumni and the community to campus event

She adds that their study showed beginning evidence that the virtual delivery of education reduced trips to health care providers, which in some case resulted in cost savings.

“These are important findings, as chronic diseases account for the greatest proportion of healthcare use and spending,” said Rush.

She suggests that virtual education offers an effective alternative for many patients with chronic disease.

“Virtually delivered interventions offer practitioners a suite of options from which to use.”

The study, published in Patient Education and Counseling was supported by funds from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research.

To report a typo, email:
newstips@kelownacapnews.com
.


@KelownaCapNews
newstips@kelownacapnews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Scammer targeting elderly in Kelowna with broken-down vehicle story

A door to door scammer is in Kelowna, targeting seniors according to Kelowna RCMP

Kelowna’s definitive Christmas market list

We’ve prepared a list of every market in the Central Okanagan

Okanagan volunteers reflect on building classrooms in Nepal

Through the charity Her International, the volunteer group built four classrooms

Cool Arts’ double header event features Lake Country artist

Celebration of artist Mark Mercer’s work to run alongside community art night in Kelowna.

Kelowna rallies around father of five after cancer diagnosis

Fundraisers are planned throughout November

Weekend weather update: Crisp and sunny

This weekend will see lots of sunshine and below season temperatures for the Okanagan, Shuswap and Similkameen.

Canada’s health system commendable overall but barriers to care remain: UN

The United Nations says Canada’s health care system is “commendable” overall but vulnerable groups still face barriers to quality care.

Unique technology gives children with special needs more independent play

UVic’s CanAssist refined seven prototypes aided by $1.5M government contribution

$224.5 million announced for Highway 1 bridge replacement in Sicamous

Transportation Minister Claire Trevena says bridge option will be announced next month

Kelly Ellard’s boyfriend has statutory release revoked

Darwin Duane Dorozan had several parole infractions that found him ‘unmanageable’

Accident north of Vernon involves SUV and semi truck

Minor delays reported in Highway 97 crash

Ontario driver rolls car in Okanagan

Crash near Vernon follows reports of erratic driving

Doctor’s note shouldn’t be required to prove you’re sick: poll

70% of Canadians oppose allowing employers to make you get a sick note

German-born B.C. man warns against a ‘yes’ vote on proportional representation

Agassiz realtor Freddy Marks says PR in his home country shows party elites can never be voted out

Most Read