New Media's Role in ED Patient Care

As information technology is becoming ever more prevalent in patient care, researchers analyzed the role these technologies play in patient care in an emergency department setting in a study published in JMIR mHealth and uHealth.

As information technology is becoming ever more prevalent in patient care, researchers analyzed the role these technologies play in patient care in an emergency department (ED) setting in a study published in JMIR mHealth and uHealth. This “new media,” or media content created or consumed on demand on an electronic device, allows consumers to interact with both content and people more so than ever before.

Employing face-to-face and cross-sectional surveys, researchers discovered that female and younger ED patients who owned mobile phones reported higher online searching for medical or health information. Of all patients surveyed, ED patients were more likely to seek health information than the general population surveyed.

“While the conventional main focus of hospital EDs has been to provide immediate treatment to patients with acute conditions, the use of new media could extend the reach of the ED visit,” the authors wrote. “These clinical encounters provide unique and important opportunities to the clinicians and system of health care to positively influence individual health behavior beyond the emergency department setting.”

Researchers noted that 82.25% of the individuals owned cell phones and among this population, about 99% used their device for calling and three-quarters of them used their device to text. The report also took into account minority qualifications, such as race and income, and found that the poor and minority populations do not differ significantly in device ownership or usage rates.

“New media may be a health care equalizer to address health care disparities by reaching minorities and low income patients better,” the authors concluded in the paper.