Universal Platform for Individualized Continuous Patient Education (iCOPE)

Joseph Finkelstein and Jeffrey Wood


computer-assisted instruction, e-learning, health education


Interactive, computer-based education has the potential to greatly increase reach and efficacy of health education efforts in different populations, since it promotes active participation of learners in the education process and is potentially accessible from anywhere in the world via internet. We developed a universal platform for Individualized Continuous Patient Education (iCOPE) which delivers health education via multiple health communication channels targeting different populations in a culturally sensitive manner. This platform is a comprehensive informatics framework for rapid adaptation and dissemination of Comparative Effectiveness Research (CER) products tailored to different categories of health consumers including difficult-to-reach patients. The iCOPE platform implements universal means for customized delivery of CER information in the format of interactive self-paced educational modules, quick “question & answer” guides, and interactive decision aids. In addition, the iCOPE platform supports the innovative concept of continuous patient health education by providing patients with easy access to the interactive CER updates via web, MP3 players and phone-based interactive voice response (IVR) technology. We tested usability and acceptance of the iCOPE platform in patients with various chronic health conditions in several settings. Our results demonstrated high acceptance of the platform by health consumers and significant positive impact on their health literacy. In addition, we conducted a qualitative inquiry aimed at identifying facilitators and barriers of implementing this new technology in different clinical environments. Analysis of focus group discussions with providers identified factors affecting successful dissemination of computer-assisted education as a part of routine clinical care delivery.

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