Patient education, Patient care, Healthcare education, Patient informatics, Consumer health information





Nurses in practice have an increasing need to become aware of the computer-based resources available and the evidence regarding their use in the process of patient education. This synthesis of the literature examines research related to computer-based patient education. A particular focus is placed on the nurse clinician's perspective and the role of the nurse as a patient educator in the digital age. Two primary healthcare database resources, MEDLINE and CINAHL, were selected for review of the current literature. A listing of articles related to the use of computer technology in patient education was obtained from both of these databases. The search strategy included exploding the subject heading terms "computer" and "patient education," and included articles from 1971 to 2001. Computer-based patient education is an effective strategy for improving healthcare knowledge and clinical outcomes. Computer-based learning can be tailored to the individual's age and specific learning needs. Furthermore, although access to computer-based resources continues to be a barrier for some, socioeconomic disparities have no reported impact on patients' abilities to use computer-based technologies effectively.