Private Web Service Helps Families Of Patients Keep In Touch

Armen Hareyan's picture
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Family members and friends of adult patients at University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics are now able to share private health updates, photographs and supportive messages through a free, Web-based service called CarePages.

CarePages allows users to create a private, personal Web page to communicate with family and friends during and after their hospitalization. This eliminates the need for repeated phone calls and allows family members to control how they communicate about health events. The service can be used for as long as needed, even after hospitalization. A Spanish language version is available.

Donna Katen-Bahensky, senior associate vice president for medical affairs and CEO of UI Hospitals and Clinics, said CarePages is another example of the hospital's use of the most innovative technologies to enhance service to patients.

"CarePages allows us to meet both the physical and emotional needs of our patient families and demonstrate care for members of our community," she said.

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The popular service has previously been available to family members and friends of pediatric patients at UI Children's Hospital. Since the children's CarePages service became available in October 2004, more than 45,000 members have made over a million visits and offered over 75,000 messages of support.

"The success we've seen at UI Children's Hospital has helped pave the way for its availability to adults, as well," said Tami Barrett, coordinator of patient- and family-centered services.

Eva Tsalikian, M.D., physician chief-of-staff at UI Hospitals and Clinics, said CarePages connects people, forming strong bonds between patient families, their networks of support and the health care providers that help make the service available.

In addition, she said, the CarePages service makes it easy for patients and families to recognize hospital staff members who have provided superior care.

Katen-Bahensky added that it also provides a convenient way for patients, families and members of their support communities to learn more about and offer gift support to UI Hospitals and Clinics and/or associated volunteer organizations.

The secure service complies with all federal HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) patient confidentiality requirements. Patients, families and health care providers are protected online through strict privacy policies, password protection, and visitor-management tools.

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