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Patient education in the digital age

mai 15, 2023

How Can Digital Patient Education Improve Health Outcomes?

Image of doctor talking patience
Summary: In the age of digitalization, methodologies in current sectors will be innovated. This innovation within healthcare specifically will encompass various technologies, including but not limited to e-learning. This will detail why the ways that patients receive health information are valuable.


Digital platforms have seen exponential growth and adoption during the past few years. People rely on digital technology more than ever before for basic daily activities. Within healthcare, the use of digital technologies has rapidly risen to a status of basic requirement, such that now at the click of a few buttons, we get medical advice, schedule an appointment, and receive test results. One aspect of the digital health environment has grown to present great potential within this field: patient education. In most cases, health information is presented in forms such as power points played on loops, or pamphlets and bullet point sheets shoved into our hands after finishing an appointment. Most often, we do not take the time to read all of the bullet points nor can we find such sheets of paper in times of need.

Since technology is more accessible than ever, we have more information – and disinformation – at our disposal. Patients accessing health information through digital means continue to rise. However, some sources of information are not standardized, evidence-based, or relevant for the patient and their families. This presents a challenge when expanding the use of digital patient education tools and should be addressed to improve the growth of digital health for this purpose.

The Image of a doctor inside a cell phone greeting a patient in animated version, this symbolizes the growth of digital health


Patient education involves a continuous process of learning the information and skills necessary to improve or maintain a current state of health. Patient education improves one’s health literacy. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), health literacy is “the degree to which individuals have the ability to find, understand, and use information and services to inform health-related decisions and actions for themselves and others.”

Patient education represents the knowledge a patient has to understand their own well-being. Patients who have a greater understanding make more informed and better decisions regarding their health. Knowledge allows patients to be active in the process of enhancing their own well-being and empowering patients through knowledge can lead to better health outcomes. For example, research in 2022 identified that patients with low levels of health literacy are more inclined to be hospitalized and report their general health status as poor compared to patients with higher levels of health literacy.

Image illustrating the importance of patient education


Digital health education platforms give patients easily accessible knowledge as it relies on the far-reaching nature of digital tools. Researchers have assessed the effects of digital maternal health education on patient outcomes and found that multimedia-based learning can be an effective tool for patient education. Another study assessed patients who received health information on an iPad and found that audiovisual multimedia such as animation may improve. Patients who received digital patient education reported higher satisfaction scores than those who received the same information presented in a paper booklet. Moreover, the researchers found that patients express favorable opinions about digital health interventions.

Multimedia-based education may be an effective solution for patients of all ages. The use of audiovisual multimedia tools can enhance learning which may consequently lead to an improvement in treatment outcomes. These technologies may provide reassurance and motivation by offering a sense of direction and safety, independence, and self-care. Digital patient education platforms may have the ability to transform patients’ lives.

Animated image illustratiog the benefits of digital education


Sensing the shift in access to health care, new tools have been created to engage patients and the general public. As the world becomes more advanced through digital technologies, the ways in which these technologies function in our lives will transform.

Digital health education is one aspect in particular that can bring a significant impact on the efficacy of patient interventions. The positive impacts of digital patient education are yet to be fully explored, but its promises are definitely encouraging innovations to look for in the near future.

Illustrative image of a doctor inside a computer, symbolizing health in a digital medium

Les références

  1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2022)
  2. Pellisé, F., Sell, P., & EuroSpine Patient Line Task Force (2009). Patient information and education with modern media: the Spine Society of Europe Patient Line. European spine journal : official publication of the European Spine Society, the European Spinal Deformity Society, and the European Section of the Cervical Spine Research Society18 Suppl 3(Suppl 3), 395–401. Read
  3. Schnitman, G., Wang, T., Kundu, S., Turkdogan, S., Gotlieb, R., How, J., & Gotlieb, W. (2022). The role of digital patient education in maternal health: A systematic review. Patient Education and Counseling, 105(3), 586-593. Read
  4. Dallimore R-K, Asinas-Tan ML, Chan D, Hussain S, Willett C, Zainuldin R. A randomized, double-blinded clinical study on the efficacy of multimedia presentation using an iPad for patient education of postoperative hip surgery patients in a public hospital in Singapore. Singapore Med J. 2017 Sep;58(9):562–8.
  5. World Health Organization. WHO guideline: recommendations on digital interventions for health system strengthening [Internet]. Geneva; 2019 [cited 2019 May 4]. Available from: Here
  6. Gysels M, Higginson IJ. Interactive technologies and videotapes for patient education in cancer care: systematic review and meta-analysis of randomised trials. Support Care Cancer. 2007 Jan 8;15(1):7–20.

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