Patients’ concerns while in the hospital can range from medical—wanting to talk about lung scan results or needing help with nausea medication—to more personal, such as wanting to watch the Patriots game.

Patients generally have better experiences—and are ultimately more engaged in their care—when they understand their plan of care and feel the care team is attentive to all of their needs and concerns, treating them as people rather than a diagnosis.

A multidisciplinary team is bringing new tools to both patients and care providers to enhance communication and teamwork and ensure the best patient experience possible. Through the PROSPECT (“Promoting Respect and Ongoing Safety Through Patient-centeredness, Engagement, Communication and Technology”) study, patients and their family members in the MICU and oncology units have access to a tablet at the bedside. Using the tablet, they are able to view their plan of care and goals, their schedule, medications and care team members. They are also able to send a question to their entire care team through a microblog function.

“Patients really want to be able to ask questions when they are ready, and sometimes that means when they are alone and have had an opportunity to process the information they received from their care team,” said Patti Dykes, PhD, RN, senior nurse scientist and program director of Nursing Research. “Through this tool, the patient can post a question or concern, and the care team will review it, have a discussion and come back and address it with the patient—usually in person.”

Martie Carnie, of the BWH Patient and Family Steering Committee, says that the tool is proving useful for patients. “It’s very helpful in giving patients some control over their care, and it makes them feel better connected,” she said.

Behind the scenes, the care team members have access to a microblog function that enables them to receive the patient’s questions and have a secure and confidential discussion among themselves. This feature is unique in that it brings all members of the team together without a meeting and replaces conversations that happen in silos via email. Additionally, it reduces paging among several care team members. There is also a mobile app, which providers find handy as they are not often at a computer.

By giving patients more access to their care team and more awareness of their medications and plan of care, the study is also striving to minimize preventable harm and reduce unnecessary resource utilization.

Since the study launched last July, more than 200 patients have participated. Of all the features on the tablet, most patients especially like the ability to view their test results and medications, pose a question and see who all the members of their care team are.

“PROSPECT has helped us to establish a culture of patient-centeredness,” said Dykes.

PROSPECT has been ongoing thanks to a $2 million grant from the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation and support from BWH. To learn more, visit