Turning a doctor’s waiting room into an electronic chat room might be a key to getting teens help for risky behavior, according to a study by Nationwide Children’s Hospital.
Health eTouch Pad is a 10-inch touch-screen computer that asks questions about health and behavior while patients are waiting to see a doctor.
The gadget, developed by Children’s researchers, serves as a screening device, allowing doctors to ask questions that might be rushed or forgotten in an exam. The information is sent to a control site, where it is summarized and flagged to indicate concerns. Doctors could receive reports right away, to discuss in the exam, or days later.
The Children’s Hospital study, in the June issue of Pediatrics, looked at nearly 900 patients ages 11 to 20 who used the wireless devices in clinic waiting rooms. It found that 59 percent of the patients screened positive for injury-risk behavior, depression or drug or alcohol use.
It also found that doctors who were given the results at the time of the exam identified problems in 68 percent of the patients who screened positive. When the results weren’t given to doctors before the exam, problems were identified in 52 percent of those patients.
I think the relevant question is why isn’t this happening everywhere?