Educational aid for acne management proves beneficial


An educational video could be a solution to improve patient education about acne and its treatment.

Acne is a common skin disease that can significantly affect quality of life, but it is often difficult for clinicians to determine the level of patient awareness regarding how their condition is treated and managed. Shared decision making (SDM) is a two-way process in which clinicians and patients jointly develop treatment plans based on medical evidence and patient values. “SDM can improve patient knowledge, satisfaction and adherence to treatment,” says Wei-Ming Wang, MD, PhD. However, he adds, low health literacy can have negative consequences, including poorer health outcomes, poorer adherence to treatment and frequent hospitalizations.

Recent studies have shown that the use of visual aids as health education materials, including pictograms and videos, appears to be an effective strategy for improving health literacy and medication adherence. For a study published in PLOS A, Dr. Wang and colleagues evaluated the use of a clinician-created educational video as a patient decision aid (PDA) to improve patient knowledge of acne pathogenesis, treatment choices, the mechanism of action of isotretinoin and the associated side effects. They also compared knowledge levels, preferences, and satisfaction after being exposed to an educational brochure or the clinician-created video.

Watching videos produces higher scores than reading brochures

For the study, investigators collected responses from patients at dermatology outpatient clinics using electronic devices. While patients waited to be seen, they first read educational brochures and took a test. Subsequently, an 8-minute video created by a clinician was viewed by patients using their mobile devices. These patients then received another short test and a questionnaire on their satisfaction with the brochure and the video. All patients read the educational brochures, completed the test, then watched the video and took the test and questionnaires. During consultations, patients could meet with their dermatologist if they had questions about any of the PDA tools.

The study team recruited 50 patients with acne, including 33 men and 17 women, aged 15 to 47. The results showed that test scores on patients’ knowledge of acne improved significantly after watching the video. Test scores after watching the video were 99 ± 4.79, compared to scores of 81 ± 19.55 after reading the educational brochure. Similar results were observed in a subgroup analysis by sex and in different age groups.

Video leaves a lasting impact as a PDA for patient education

Based on participant feedback, the researchers found that a higher proportion of patients preferred the educational video to the brochure. “All the patients agreed that the video helped them understand the educational information and impressed them more than the brochure,” says Dr. Wang. “The video also made it possible to effectively perform the SDM during the consultation.” Again, these results remained similar for men and women and for different age groups.

Most patients (82%) preferred the video to understand the mechanism of acne and the side effects of oral isotretinoin, while 14% preferred the brochure and 4% felt the same about of either PDA tool. Investigators also found that 76% of participants “strongly agreed” that the video left a greater impression than the brochure regarding the mechanism of acne, treatment and side effects of isotretinoin orally. Additionally, 82% of patients “strongly agreed” that the video helped them more effectively understand acne mechanism, treatment and side effects of oral isotretinoin. (Figure).

The study team notes that the educational video developed for the study could be a solution to improve patient education about acne and its treatment. “Educational video is an effective way to share information with patients and their loved ones and help them understand the pros, cons, and possible outcomes of different options,” says Dr. Wang, adding that the use of a clinician-created educational video such as a PDA can enable clinicians to effectively perform the SDM. Patients can also be reminded to watch the video at any time if they are unsure about treatment options, side effects, or medication precautions.


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