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Hospital Innovators: Using Interactive Technology to Improve Diabetes Education

Acute Care November 15, 2019

Diabetes statistics are alarming. Today there are an estimated 30 million diabetes cases in the United States of America alone, and it is one of our leading causes of death. Older Americans with diabetes are more likely to be in the emergency room, and a recent study found that nearly a third of those ED visits result in hospital admissions.

The diabetes education challenge

Educating hospital diabetes patients has long been a topic in nursing circles. “From the 1950s (and even earlier) to the 1970s, patients with newly diagnosed type 2 diabetes and certainly those with type 1 diabetes were admitted to the hospital for initiation of medication and nutrition therapy, as well as comprehensive patient education,” according to Anne T. Nettles, MSN, CS, RN. “Given a long stay, nurses and sometimes nurse specialists, along with inpatient dietitians, provided one-to-one instruction with multiple opportunities for patient practice.”

But with value-based care reducing the average length of hospital stays, she says, nurses no longer have the advantage of extended stays to educate diabetes patients on things like:

  1. Medications
  2. Nutrition
  3. Home blood glucose testing
  4. Symptoms and foods for hypoglycemia
  5. Knowing who and when to call for help.

How one hospital is improving patient education

Torrance Memorial Medical Center in Torrance, California, like other hospitals, is looking for ways to educate patients faster and more effectively. To address the challenge, Torrance turned to an innovative use of technology: Sentrics’ E3 interactive patient education solution.

The clinical team knew its diabetes patients were vulnerable and the hospital wanted to improve to improve diabetes education. The technology team quickly saw the answer. “We realized we could leverage the existing infrastructure that we have at the hospital with our patient room televisions,” said Ashwin Rohra, manager, interoperability and development.

Using those TVs and the Sentrics E3 interactive patient engagement solution, Rohra said, “We could send patient education videos directly into the patients’ room so that they could look at them at their leisure. They are sent automatically based on the point of care glucose order.”

Videos are assigned directly through the patient’s electronic medical record. In addition, the percentage of those videos a patient has watched is automatically documented in the patient’s electronic medical record. Nurses can prioritize their day to see those patients who have not viewed the videos first.

The seamless approach – with no extra work for the nurse or the patient – has dramatically impacted diabetes education in just two years. “I knew we would see an increase, but to see the viewership go up 600 percent is pretty amazing,” said Shanna Hall, RN, vice president of nursing.

Now the hospital is looking to other chronic conditions that could benefit from Sentrics’ E3 video education integrated into the hospital electronic medical record. “This directly gets to the heart of creating a seamless patient experience,” says Rohra. Hear the Torrance team talk more about their diabetes education experience in the video below.

Learn how Sentrics’ smart-room interactive solutions can help your hospital improve patient education and outcomes. Visit

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