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Back to the Slopes with Personalized HIPAA-Compliant Video Discharge!

Posted by Shawn on 28, Feb, 2013

Today we have a guest post from Dr. M. Kate Burke, who discovered Postwire while rehabbing a knee injury.


Flying home from Beaver Creek, Colorado after a recent ski trip, I started thinking about my recovery from a knee injury a few years ago. This time I never made it to the glades where I fell into a giant snow hole, but I did enjoy three days of groomed runs and fresh mountain air with family!

What does my passion for alpine skiing energize my interest for improving communication in health care?

hipaa-compliant-videoHobbling around after the accident led me first to physical therapy, then to the operating room, and then back to physical therapy. What was I missing? I felt like communication with my physical therapist was challenging, almost broken. I couldn’t reproduce my physical therapy exercises and I quickly became a frustrated patient!  I might have just thrown my hands up and hoped to figure it out eventually, but I wanted to be up and around on my two feet soon! Sound familiar? Apparently forgetting instructions and other information is pretty common and is playing out frequently in multiple scenarios.

I found myself looking for a better way to capture my exercises so that I could re-watch them, and imagine my surprise when I found out that my physical therapist Mike Roberts was looking to do the same! Simultaneously we both pulled out a Flip Video camera and my involvement with patient video started. The amazing very personal experience using video as a patient changed my entire professional perspective on communication in healthcare. You see, I am an emergency physician and never really thought of using video with my patients before my own experience.

My passion is to now spread the word, and to introduce using personal patient video across multiple clinical areas for patients in both the inpatient and outpatient settings.

You name it and there is a use case:

  • Physical Therapy
  • Occupational Therapy
  • Speech Therapy
  • Chronic Disease Management
  • Diabetes Teaching
  • Heart Failure Teaching
  • Informed Decision Making Discussions
  • End of Life Discussions
  • Instructions from Clinical Psychologists
  • After Care Instructions from a Hospital Stay
  • Instructions from an Emergency Department Visit
  • Asthma Inhaler Instructions
  • Medication Instructions
  • Wound Care Instructions
  • Cancer Treatment Choices

As you can see, the list is infinite for patients and clinicians.

The more I looked at the literature about understanding and remembering provider instructions, I knew this part of communication in health care was broken. Why not make as much of this information available for the patient in a very consumable and crystal clear medium?  Each patient is the star of their own show, and at a minimum the idea of using video makes everyone focus more on communication skills—both the giving and receiving of information. A true partnership of recovery! Providers get better and better using video as well. My physical therapist Mike Roberts improved the clarity of instruction every single time he took a clip of my exercises. While practicing at home I could watch on my computer and listen to his voice. This was amazing and I still practice many of the same exercises years later. Instant feedback for everyone makes communication crystal clear instead of a muddled memory! Video is a win-win for both providers and patients!

Following this discovery, I called a colleague in medical information technology, figuring there was some easy way to capture and send patient care video. Nope! Turns out this takes hard work and smart engineers to make it all happen in a safe, secure legal, HIPAA-compliant way. Fortunately I connected with a company called VisibleGains led by Cliff Pollan and Craig Daniels. With their team of top-shelf engineers they created an awesome application for capturing and sharing patient health information in a safe, secure legal, and HIPAA-compliant manner – the product is called Postwire! So, with the HIPAA software application in hand I plan to tell everyone I can through blogging, education, lecturing, and example to share the passion around improved patient communication and engagement. After twenty-six years of practice I am proud to focus on doing the basics even more with a little help from modern technology.

So let’s go to work and enable patients to revisit the visit!

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