SeamlessMD Podcast – Episode 8 – Incorporating Health Literacy & Accessibility into Digital Patient Engagement



In this episode of the SeamlessMD Podcast, Dr. Joshua Liu, Co-founder & CEO at SeamlessMD, and marketing colleague, Alan Sardana, chat with Health Education Design expert, Ms. Denice Koo MHSc, about the best practices for incorporating Health Literacy & Accessibility into Digital Patient Engagement. See the full show notes below for details.

Guest(s): Ms. Denice Koo MHSc, Director of Patient Education at SeamlessMD

Dr. Joshua Liu (@joshuapliu), Co-founder & CEO at SeamlessMD

Episode 8 – Show notes:

[00:12] Introducing Denice Koo MHSc, Director of Patient Education at SeamlessMD;

[02:00] How success with Digital Patient Engagement relies on the quality and accessibility of the clinical content – not just the technology;

[03:05] Ms. Koo defines Health Literacy; the ability for someone to get, use, and understand health information so they can make good decisions for their own health care;

[03:35] How Ms. Koo learned about Health Literacy while working at the Centre for Online Communication designing resources for academic medical centers such as Sunnybrook’s Odette Cancer Center;

[05:15] How Ms. Koo learned about Health Behaviour Change Theory, Online Accessibility, Adult Learning Theory and other disciplines related to Digital Health Engagement while pursuing a Masters in Nutrition Communication;

[6:40] How Ms. Koo interviewed patients to better understand engagement and various resource modalities such as print, video, web, etc;

[07:40] How growing up in a mixed-race family shaped the way Ms. Koo views Health Literacy; accessibility and language barriers;

[09:10] Why language tone and explaining “the why” is important for creating an empowering experience that reaches people where they are and making them feel like they have the power to make their own decisions;

[12:35] How Health System wealth disparity impacts patient accessibility with health education resources and why Ms. Koo founded Health Education Design – her own patient education consulting company – to help Health Systems with fewer resources create evidence-based health resources;

[15:00] How Ms. Koo first reached out to Dr. Liu on LinkedIn; a funny tale about Dr. Liu first declining to meet and then changing his mind less than 24 hours later after reading more information on Ms. Koo’s Health Education Design website;

[20:30] Why Dr. Liu believed enhancing the early SeamlessMD technology with higher quality content would lead to better patient engagement, how he screened for Patient Education specialists, and why Ms. Koo stood out;

[24:10] How SeamlessMD developed over time to meet certain accessibility guidelines such as WCAG 2.0 AA, contrast-tested, color-blind tested, screen reader accessible, etc.;

[24:45] How Ms. Koo adapted the foundational principles of health literacy, accessibility and behavior change for interactive design and Digital Patient Engagement;

[26:40] How Ms. Koo interviewed vision-impaired patients to better inform the accessibility and design for SeamlessMD;

[28:00] Why Ms. Koo and the SeamlessMD team continues to interview patients at each new hospital that implements SeamlessMD to ensure the platform is truly patient-centered;

[29:40] How Ms. Koo uses Social Cognitive Theory to build patient self-efficacy and to identify and remove environmental barriers for patients;

[31:15] Why designing for an interactive platform is different than designing for print and web and why Digital Patient Engagement creates a special experience for patients that is personalized to the patient;

[33:30] How updating content and workflows  on a digital platform is easier than traditional patient education resources since it’s done in real-time and for all patients at once;

[37:30] Ms. Koo’s thoughts on what makes a good patient education champion and why the teams at UAB and Baystate have been amazing patient education champions;

[41:00] How Ms. Koo leverages research and evidence to provide the rationale for why it’s important to factor in Health Literacy for patient resources; how SeamlessMD has been used to collect additional patient-reported outcomes (PRO) data that demonstrates the impact of plain language on patient compliance;

[43:50] How consulting taught Ms. Koo to listen, which is one of the most crucial skills in understanding the problems that are needing to be solved regarding Patient Education;

[47:00] Rapid Fire Questions:

Q: What is your favorite book or book you’ve gifted the most?

A: The Bible

Q: Who is a person, dead or alive, you would like to meet?

A: Dr. Temple Grandin

Q: Who, other than family, would you like to be quarantined with?

A: Malcolm Gladwell

Q: Since the pandemic started, have you taken up any new hobbies or activities?

A: Biking

[52:00] A final touching story from Ms. Koo on Health Literacy and a key moment she realized that her patient education work positively impacts everyone, including healthcare providers;

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