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It's a new world with electronic readers
New format meets the needs of certain patients
Patient and family resource centers might be a logical setting for such electronic devices as the Apple iPad or Nook electronic reader.
To find out if they would be beneficial to patrons, a pilot project is being set up at the Community Health Library within the Samuel and Sandra Hekemian Medical Library at Hackensack (NJ) University Medical Center. As a Planetree facility, the medical center embraces patient-centered care and therefore tries to have educational resources available in a variety of formats to meet the needs of patients and family members. For example, there are books, short web site articles on computers, and materials for children and Spanish speakers.
"We figured we should have some electronic resources available as well," says Deborah Magnan, PT, MLIS, AHIP, associate librarian.
A donation from the medical staff has made it possible to purchase five iPads and five Nooks, which will be assessed by patrons to determine what they like and don't like about the devices. Because the iPads are not strictly an e-reader, they can have filtered web sites that people can access. This capability might be helpful when readers have a question about a disease that the book they are reading does not answer, says Barbara Reich, MLS, AHIP, director of the medical library. In addition, iPads have features such as a voiceover, which means patients can listen to a person read the book. The voiceover is available in 21 languages. Also web pages can be enlarged for people with visual impairments.
Promoting informed decision-making in health care is a goal of the consumer health service, and the content on the iPads and Nooks will help, says Reich.
New resources are popular
At the Cancer Institute of New Jersey in New Brunswick, the Resource and Learning Center began offering iPads and Nooks for one-day checkout in January 2011. The four adult iPads, two pediatric iPads, and two color Nooks became popular.
Although there are some educational books and videos on the electronic devices, they are primarily used for entertainment to divert patients' attention from their cancer diagnosis and treatment. Therefore, the devices also offer movies, games, and music. Patients and family members see the signs and flyers posted at the cancer institute to advertise the availability of iPads and Nooks at the Resource and Learning Center, so they go to check one out and see all the other educational materials available, says Leah A. Scaramuzzo, MSN, RN-BC, AOCN, associate director of nursing and patient education.
The idea to purchase iPads and Nooks came about during a brainstorming session on how to increase patron visits to the resource center, which was opened in 2004. Some thought the latest technology might spark new interest. According to Scaramuzzo, there never has been more traffic to the center. In one month, patron visits increased by 20%. During treatment, people will start reading a book on a Nook or iPad on a topic such as nutrition and decide to checkout the hardcopy before returning home.
"As educators we need to find different ways to engage patients in learning, and this is one of the ways to engage patients," Scaramuzzo says.
For more information about using iPads and Nooks in a consumer library, contact:
Deborah Magnan, PT, MLIS, AHIP, Associate Librarian, Samuel and Sandra Hekemian Medical Library, Hackensack University Medical Center, 30 Prospect Ave., Hackensack, NJ 07601. Telephone: (201) 996-2326. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Leah A. Scaramuzzo, MSN, RN-BC, AOCN, Associate Director of Nursing and Patient education, The Cancer Institute of New Jersey, 195 Little Albany St., Room 1608, First Floor, Treatment Area, New Brunswick, NJ 08903-2681. Telephone: (732) 235-7405. E-mail: email@example.com.