New Vine App Helps Patients Learn Visually
We all learn differently. Some people, like myself, learn best by reading. Others struggle with reading, and learn best when information is presented visually.
Like most physicians, I have traditionally provided patients with written materials intended to help them better understand their diagnosis and treatment options. I often wonder, however, if these materials actually educate and empower patients, or simply end up in their trash cans. Fortunately, with the popularity of smartphones, it has never been easier for physicans to create innovative educational materials for their patients.
A new application for iPhone and iPad was recently bought and relaunched by Twitter called Vine. The Vine app is a tool that can be used to create a six-second video that you can share with your patients using Twitter, Facebook, and on your own website or blog. Remarkably, I have found that it is possible to communicate quite a bit of medical information in six seconds.
Vine videos, by design, continuously repeat or loop – a feature that serves to reinforce the content of the video.
The following is a Vine video I created to help my patients understand how a Foley catheter works.
The video is, admittedly, very basic. However, it communicates a great deal of information even without the use of the optional audio feature. When patients watch the video,they can quickly see that urinary catheters come in different colors and sizes, have balloons that inflate and deflate, and have a small opening though which urine drains. Vine videos can be used to supplement written cather instructions, or to help patients who are unable to read understand how a urinary catheter functions.
Just because Vine videos are short, doesn’t mean that you are limited to addressing simple topics. I created the following Vine video for my InterStim® patients.
InterStim® is a therapy that has been used for many years to treat patients with urinary incontinence. It is now also being used to treat patients with fecal incontinence. The treatment involves placing a small wire next to the nerves that help control the bladder and the rectum. This is done as part of the testing phase to see if a patient is a candidate for InterStim® therapy.
Patients who benefit from the therapy go on to have a small device, about the size of two silver dollars, implanted under the skin overlying their buttocks. Following the procedure, patients use a hand held programmer to adjust the therapy, if needed. Using Vine, I was able to effectively summarize InterStim® therapy for my patients in the form of a quick video ”take home message.”
When I critique my own Vine videos, it is clear they would better if I had used a tripod. Holding an iPhone completely still, even for only six seconds, can prove to be very difficult. Also, a better understanding of lighting would be helpful as lighting can have a big effect on the quality of these short videos.
Although Vine intentionally defalts to only video, audio can be added to further enhance your videos
It is the ease with which these Vine videos can be created that, I believe, makes them so attractive.
The Sky is the Limit
Creating patient education content has always required time and effort. Written materials do not resonate with many people. Vine vidoes are an example of a growing number tools that we can use to further educate and empower our patients.
If you have the iPhone Vine app, you can follow me at Dr Brian Stork.