Creating a participatory healthcare future: designing emotionally-intelligent multimedia decision aids

Geri Baumblatt geri@emmisolutions.com

Abstract

Medical decisions are stressful. When people receive a diagnosis of a serious illness such as cancer, people usually feel overwhelmed; many experience things like cancer-related anxiety or in some cases, even Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. Fueled by fear, people often rush into decisions without the proper time to absorb information and understand their options.

Other times, with a chronic condition like diabetes, people often reach a decision point when an additional medication is needed. Even though the disease is progressive, people often experience feelings of failure, and think their efforts to make real lifestyle changes did not make a difference. Add to this the common fear of needles, and the idea of having to give themselves injections, as well as the fear of the medication itself and learning to safely use it, the situation can quickly become overwhelming.

Unfortunately, as fear piles on top of fear, these emotional challenges can prevent patients and families from fully participating in their health care decisions and choosing the right treatment plan in collaboration with their provider.

Learn how multimedia decision aids can help address emotions when they are designed to incorporate empathy, candor, autonomy, preference questions and thought exercises to help people understand what all the risk information and outcomes will mean in their day-to-day life. This type of decision aid can also provide a breathing space between clinical encounters for people to take time to review their options, process their emotions, talk with their family, and consider what really matters to them.

Included in the presentation will be clips from focus groups showing how real people respond to these strategies. Only when we realize that people need more than clinical information to be able to react appropriately and be involved, can we address anxiety, improve cognition, and facilitate calm deliberation to help and empower people to make good health decisions.

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