Exploring the e-Patient Phenomenon in Nursing

Thursday, 2 August 2012: 3:55 PM

Holli A. DeVon, PhD, RN1
Perry M. Gee, MSN, RN1
Deborah A. Greenwood, MEd, RN, CNS1
Katherine K. Kim, MPH, MBA1
Susan L. Perez, MPH1
Nancy Staggers, RN, PhD, FAAN2
(1)Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing, University of California, Davis, Sacramento, CA
(2)School of Nursing, University of Maryland, College Park, MD

Learning Objective 1: The learner will be able to discuss the Data, Information, Knowledge, and Wisdaom (DIKW) framework in order to build a collective knowledge with ePatients.

Learning Objective 2: The learner will be able to discuss how ePatients and nurses can effectively collaborate to achienve a higher level of wellness for the patient.

The availability of health information on the Internet has changed the knowledge power structure between patients and their health care providers. This new phenomenon of patients well informed by electronic information is known as the e-Patient. e-Patients use information technology to actively participate in their health care rather than passively receive health care, thus assuming higher levels of responsibility for their own health and wellness. Nursing can utilize the Data, Information, Knowledge, and Wisdom (DIKW) framework to understand how e-Patients and clinicians may achieve this collective wisdom. The purpose of this review is to examine the e-Patient phenomenon through the literature in order to help nurses evaluate, design, develop and determine the effectiveness of information systems utilized by e-Patients. e-Patients can share their own data such as symptoms, pain levels, functional status, and quality of life with clinicians and offer interpretation based on what that data means in their daily lives. Clinicians can help e-Patients understand the meaning of information such as normal ranges for laboratory tests or expected side effects of medications. Clinicians can also help e-Patients determine the quality of online resources and so that patients can more critically evaluate the health information they read. By observing and dialoging collaboratively, the e-Patient and the nurse can use informatics-guided structured methods to better understand shared knowledge. The e-Patient phenomenon has implications for nursing informatics research and potential collaboration with clinicians in developing a collective wisdom. Understanding the process of e-Patient information-seeking behavior, knowledge generation and decision-making will guide nurses in effective education and support in patient decision-making.