In a hospital environment, patients are inundated by too many communication tools. While managing their illness, they are forced to interact with doctors/nurses/family members, telephone, television, etc.; yet the patient may still feel overwhelmed and alone. Our goal is to develop an interactive system which will combine the functions of several different communication methods into one simple system. The system will decrease the need for many types of communication tools and increase access to communication. The Patient Interactive Communication and Learning System (PILS) aims to simplify the patient's hospital communication experience by combining communication tools into one easy-to-use system. PILS will help the patient feel connected by allowing them to interactively communicate with others, learn how to manage their illness, and access entertainment media.
After examining the current hospital environment, we found two things lacking in hospital communication: emotional connections and persistency of information. PILS system was designed to address and overcome these shortcomings. First, video chat technology was introduced to leverage visual cues to promote and maintain emotional connections between patients, hospital staff, and family. Using this same video technology to allow doctors and nurses to record important information for patients provides a persistent record of the patient’s condition, empowering the patient to better understand their condition and have more control over their recovery. Adding the ability to access entertainment channels or health educational material provides everything the patient would need in one system.
The current version of PILS has been developed using JAVA SE 5.0 and the Java Media Framework (JMF). For the video and audio communication channels, we have leveraged the power of the Skype communication client. Through a generous donation of equipment from PolyVision, the PILS system demonstrates the improvements of Tomorrow’s patient care is possible with Today's technology.