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Innovation Profile

Designing patient self-management materials using an ethnographically-based understanding of patients’ needs reduces readmissions and the need for other health care services. One study demonstrated a 39% drop in 90-day readmissions for a group of heart failure patients who were discharged from the hospital with an ethnographically-designed kit. Application Profiled Here: Care Kit for Heart Failure

What it is
Care Kits are condition-specific instruction books in looseleaf binders that give detailed instructions in patient selfmanagement. Packaged with the books are tools and devices used in self-management and monitoring. The distinguishing feature of the Care Kits is that materials are developed, designed and written by medical anthropologists and linguists based on ethnographic studies of how patients view their condition, treatment and self-management tasks.1

Problems addressed

  • Patients often are unable or unmotivated to follow self-management instructions because they do not understand
    their conditions and the reasons for the prescribed self-management.
  • Patients may receive only verbal instructions in self-management or instructions written in terms that they
    find difficult to understand.
  • Patients may not have basic aids and devices (scales, thermometers) at home that are necessary in order to manage
    their condition.

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