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Talking touchscreens aid patients
Date:7/9/2010

CHICAGO --- Multimedia talking touchscreens, housed in computer kiosks at clinics and hospitals, are helping researchers at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine and clinicians at local health care centers enhance patient-centered care for patients with diverse language, literacy and computer skills.

The easy-to-use touchscreens read questionnaires, provide patient education material and collect patient data. Each piece of text on the screen has sound attached to it, and users record answers by pressing buttons.

The talking touchscreens are currently being used in a Cancer Care Communication study funded by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. Three Chicago-area cancer clinics for underserved populations are participating in the study to administer education material to newly diagnosed breast and colorectal cancer patients.

Elizabeth Hahn, an associate professor in the department of medical social sciences at Feinberg, developed the touchscreens as a tool to help end health disparities in underserved populations. Right now, the computer is capable of talking in English and Spanish. More languages may be added in the future, Hahn said.

This tool provides more privacy and allows people to complete questionnaires in their native language, at their own pace.

Hahn's current study includes up to 200 study participants. Half of the participants get standard booklets printed with educational information, the other half get that same information on the multimedia talking touchscreen.

"Our goal is to demonstrate that information from a multimedia touchscreen can improve satisfaction with communication, knowledge, self-efficacy and adherence to treatment compared to information provided in standard booklets," she said.

People with good reading skills may benefit from the technology as well, Hahn said, because the addition of audio may enhance concentration. The kiosk also houses infor
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Contact: Erin White
ewhite@northwestern.edu
847-491-4888
Northwestern University
Source:Eurekalert

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