By: 23 December 2016
Multisensory education enhances patient understanding of orthopaedic conditions

Educating patients using visual, auditory and multisensory cues during ‘informed consent’ discussions can improve understanding of anticipated care and possible outcomes, according to a new study in the Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery (JBJS).

In the study, 67 people with a new diagnosis of knee arthritis agreed to a corticosteroid injection. Researchers evaluated three informed consent discussion methods to determine which approach enhanced patient comprehension and satisfaction.

The patients were placed randomly into one of three groups: verbal, where the patient listened to a discussion script explaining their treatment; verbal and video, where the patient listened to a discussion script while watching a silent animated knee anatomy video; and verbal and model, where patients listened to the discussion script while touching and showing the treatment areas on a three-dimensional model of the knee.

Each discussion script was performed by the same physician and based on content from the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons’ patient education website. Each patient was then given The Nkem Test, which measures understanding of a topic. Patient satisfaction and the patients’ preferred method of informed consent discussion were measured using a survey.

Results showed a significant difference between understanding in the three groups. The verbal and model group had an 84 per cent comprehension score, while the verbal and video group, and verbal only group showed 74 per cent and 71 per cent comprehension, respectively. Over 95 per cent of the study participants expressed ‘high satisfaction’ with the content of the discussion, with the majority of participants saying they preferred the informed consent discussion that incorporated an anatomic model, according to study authors.

“The field of orthopaedics is primed to take a leadership role in improving physician–patient communication during the process of informed consent,” said lead study author and principal investigator Nkemakolam Egekeze. “Our study is the first randomised controlled trial to evaluate patient comprehension of a multisensory informed consent discussion.

“Research has shown that improving patient comprehension of an informed consent discussion may enhance patient engagement and patient compliance with surgeon recommendations,” he added.

Source: Medical News Today


Reference: Egekeze, N., Dubin, J., Williams, K. & Bernhardt, M. (2016) The Age of OrthoInfo: A randomized controlled trial evaluating patient comprehension of informed consent. J. Bone Joint Surg. doi: 10.2106/JBJS.15.01291