There is an Asian proverb saying “it is better to see something once than to hear about it a hundred times.”
Using the proverb as a company slogan, Health Breeze provides animated videos for patients to help them better understand the disease and inform them about details of the treatment and surgery processes.
The company offers service called “HiChart” for large hospitals and “Health Breeze” for small- and medium-sized ones. The animation content provider has collaborated with 18 local medical societies to produce more than 1,300 five-minute-long animations since 2010.
|Chung He-doo, CEO of Health Breeze|
These animations help patients understand more intuitively and allow physicians to explain the disease and treatment efficiently.
Chung He-doo, CEO of Health Breeze, was a surgeon at Seoul National University Hospital when he came up with an idea of providing medical animation.
Working as a doctor, he would draw pictures for patients to explain about a surgical procedure and get consent for surgery several times a day. He found out that patients were more satisfied when they understood better.
As Chung felt convinced that he should help patients understand better, he quit his job at the hospital in 2003 and pioneered into an area that no one else has tried -- medical animation.
Health Breeze started to create content under contracts with local medical societies, just like authors sign a contract with book publishers.
The societies provide reliable information for Health Breeze, and the company makes animated videos and distributes them.
Part of the income from the sales is returned to the societies. If societies want to use the animation for the public purpose, the content is free of charge.
Hospitals provide a link to the animation on the smartphone of the patient to help the patient understand a treatment procedure easily. The videos allow patients to watch the content repeatedly until they can understand.
Health Breeze plans to expand its service soon. The company said it would combine animated patient consent and education for hospital admission.
As part of the plan, the company will run a pilot program at Myongji Hospital in mid-May and disclose the results at the Hospital Innovation and Patient Experience Conference (HiPex) 2018. Korea Biomedical Review, Myongji Hospital, and Samjong KPMG co-host the event at Myongji Hospital from June 20-22, under the theme of the Fourth Industrial Revolution in the medical industry and crisis management.
Chung’s presentation will be titled, “Hospitals’ animation-using explanation and reform in patient consent (subtitle: Installing tap water pipes in villages that use wells).
Chung will introduce examples where existing patient consent forms were transformed into electronic ones with animation. Other examples will include nurses’ explanation of hospital admission and education for medical reimbursements in animated services.
The physician-turned entrepreneur will also disclose the results of a survey of patients and medical staffs that asked how much they were satisfied with new animated education programs.
“Korean hospitals have digitized most of the documents as electronic charts have been introduced, but they are still experiencing difficulties in digitizing patient consent forms. You have to explain directly to the patient and get a signed copy of your consent. In this process, you still need to draw a picture or explain it further,” said Chung.
Electronic consent appeared recently but physicians had to explain with the bar code-written consent form, scan it, and store it again, he went on to say. “In this process, some doctors lost the consent form. So, hospitals had to spare staffs to do the scanning work separately,” Chung added.
Electronic consent has reduced the administration work significantly but checking it with a mouse, along with the explanation to the patient, made it doctor’s work very inefficient and lowered the level of patients’ understanding, according to Chung.
Some patients could feel intimidated because they could think they did not receive a proper explanation, he said.
To address such issue, Chung’s company combined animation about treatment with the patient consent form in an electronic chart.
For the past three years, he has persuaded several medical societies to come up with a standardized consent form. Last year, he began making the form. The consent form, jointly produced with the Korean Heart Association, has been completed. Eleven kinds of animations about frequently-performed surgeries are ready as well.
“Animation used to be an item of preference, not a necessity. However, now, the law obligates hospitals to explain about the treatment and hospitals are legally responsible. As it has become more important to make patients understand better, an explanation-backed prescription will be a prerequisite,” Chung said.
Now, doctors should find a structural solution how to cope with a situation where they are bombarded with so many things to explain including complications and side effects to their patients, according to Chung. Early-stage costs and uncomfortable adjustments will follow, but they are inevitably necessary, he added.
“If you want to install tap water pipes in a village where people use wells, it will be not only costly but uncomfortable. If someone suggests an installation, others will complain and argue to go to the well. However, now is an era to use water pipes, not wells,” he said.
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