Mercy Hospital Receives $10,000 For Patient Communication Technology

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

FORT SMITH (KFSM) -- Cox Communications presented a $10,000 grant to Mercy Hospital in Fort Smith to help buy more than 20 tablets to help with communication and education programs for patients.

One of the programs helps connect non-English speaking patients connect with translators.

Jennifer Thomas, the chief nursing officer, said through this technology they can use any language and even different dialects to communicate with patients.

“If we identify an individual who's unable to speak English or if they are deaf and need signing assistance, we can contact the language line, and it's the equivalent of skyping with someone,” Thomas said.

The tablets are also used for the ME program, which has hundreds of educational videos to help patients better understand their treatment and options.

Traci Webb is the director of oncology services, which is the first department to start using this program.

“What we found was that a lot of our patients did not have internet access,” Webb said. “We would assign the video to the patient, but they would never get to complete it.”

The tablets allow patients to watch the videos at the hospital, but they still have the option of watching them at home.

Webb said they started with three tablets and immediately saw results.

“After getting our tablets, in about three weeks our statistics have jumped from 3% to 40% of patients watching the educational videos.'

Webb said with this grant nearly every department in the hospital will have tablets for these programs.

“Wound care, endoscopy, cardiac rehab, pulmonary rehab, child services, there's just a multitude of areas that can benefit from these tablets,” Webb said.