Prepdoc introduces a unique digital communication toolset to empower older patients to participate in Shared Decision Making in medical consultations

Prepdoc prepares patients for their medical consultation via an application that they can run through their browser on a computer or tablet.

Prepdoc prepares patients for their medical consultation via an application that they can run through their browser on a computer or tablet.

  • The older people get, the more difficult it can become for them to explain what’s wrong or how they feel during medical consultations. This makes diagnosis more difficult and can lead to mistakes and lack of trust.
  • In the Netherlands, 90% of elderly people use a computer, which means more and more are familiar with digital devices. This enables digital training of older adults to help them deal with medical consultations.
  • Prepdoc is funded by EIT Digital and is part of the Digital Wellbeing Action Line for 2018, with University of Utrecht as activity lead.

Many organisations in various European countries have developed information and awareness campaigns to improve Shared Decision Making (SDM) in health care consultations, but there is no focus on communication strategies to empower older patients to participate in SDM. Elderly patients benefit more when they are able to overcome major barriers to SDM by practising before the actual conversations with health professionals, Shared Decision Making (SDM) in discussions between health professionals and older patients leads to fewer hospital readmissions and generally healthier patients, according to many researchers.

"In the SDM field, Prepdoc facilitates good communication, which is vital for wellbeing and good healthcare," explains Johan Jeuring, Activity Leader of the Prepdoc project. "Good communication increases therapy and medicine adherence and reduces hospital readmissions, amongst other benefits. Trainee doctors and pharmacists learn their patient communication skills in educational programmes. The aim of Prepdoc is to train patients to communicate with healthcare professionals.”

What is Prepdoc?

As the name describes, Prepdoc prepares patients for their medical consultation via an application that they can run through their browser on a computer or tablet. Just before a consultation, elderly patients receive a brief training from Prepdoc, in which they can talk to a virtual character, amongst other things. This empowers them to give a better description of their situation and helps to build their trust in their healthcare professional and it results in better decisions about desired care and treatment.

A prototype demo is available here.

Competitive advantage

  • Training simulation with virtual characters that display emotions
  • Scenarios can be developed and adapted by trainers
  • Flexible learning environment

Target markets

  • Healthcare insurance, nursing homes, healthcare practices and patient organisations
  • The Netherlands, and, at a later stage, Scotland

Status and traction

  • Pilot testing with 50 elderly patients (end users)
  • Separate pilot at the Bartholomeus Gasthuis in Utrecht (a multi-care provider with nursing homes, assisted living and retirement homes), and other nursing homes in the Netherlands

Roadmap

2018

  • Adding several input methods and AI techniques to develop a product that can easily be used by older adults
  • English and Dutch languages
  • Developing three realistic training scenarios
  • Developing the final technical product, performing pilots and experiments in nursing homes in the Netherlands

2019

  • Experiments in Scotland

Partners & Responsibilities

Utrecht University

  • Activity Lead
  • Simulation, dialogue editing and environment development and support
  • Technology development and integration
  • Support for experiments and data analyses
  • Subcontracting to third parties

DialogueTrainer

  • Business champion, responsible for the product and market introduction
  • Setting up pilots with potential customers eg nursing homes

University of Edinburgh

  • Technology development
  • Integration of technology in final product
  • Contacts with potential customers in the region

The Digital Wellbeing Action Line leverages digital technologies to help people stay healthy (prevention and early detection) or cope with an existing chronic condition. It includes both physical and mental wellbeing. The solutions generally rely on enabling consumers to be well-informed about their wellbeing, change their behaviour and use digital unobtrusive instrumentation to monitor and improve their quality of life, saving on high healthcare costs later in life.

 Just before a consultation, elderly patients receive a brief training from Prepdoc, in which they can talk to a virtual character, amongst other things.
Just before a consultation, elderly patients receive a brief training from Prepdoc, in which they can talk to a virtual character, amongst other things.

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