Empowering Black Patients to Take a More Active Role in Their Health Care

Improving patient-physician communication through health information technology with tablet personal computers

Researchers at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine tested an intervention intended to empower Black patients to take a more active role in their health care.

At four Pittsburgh health clinics, 379 patients awaiting physician appointments used hand-held computers to answer questions about their health status and the reason for their visit. After the appointment, doctors and patients filled out separate forms to assess the value of the pre-visit questionnaire.

Limitations: Due to technical problems, many of the completed patient questionnaires failed to capture all patient input when printed out, making it impossible for researchers to assess their role in improving patient/physician communication.

Key Findings:

  • Most participating patients could easily use a hand-held computer to record demographic information and health care concerns. Sixty-one percent felt the questionnaire should continue to be used.
  • In the majority of survey responses, physicians indicated there was not great benefit to the use of the pre-visit questionnaire.

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