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27-01-2011 | Article

Online video helps educate atopic dermatitis patients


Free abstract

MedWire News: An online video may be an effective way of educating patients with atopic dermatitis about their condition, researchers have shown.

"Major advantages of online video as an educational delivery vehicle include ease of distribution, accessibility, and combined audio-visual appeal," say April Armstrong, from the University of California in Sacramento, USA, and colleagues.

The researchers compared the effectiveness of an online video with a written pamphlet for educating 80 patients with atopic dermatitis about the condition and its management.

The two forms of information contained the same educational material and addressed common clinical manifestations of atopic dermatitis, environmental triggers, proper washing technique, commonly used emollients (for softening and smoothing the skin), and topical treatment options.

The team found that all the participants had a similar knowledge of atopic dermatitis at the beginning of the study. However, improvements in knowledge following the receipt of the educational materials was greater among patients receiving it in online video form compared with those receiving it in a written pamphlet, with the former group scoring, on average, 1.2 points higher on knowledge questionnaires consisting of 14 questions.

The findings, published in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, also showed that patients in the online video group showed a greater reduction in the severity of their condition than those in the written pamphlet group. Their patient-oriented eczema measure scale scores, as a measure of severity, decreased by 37% on average compared with just 12% for patients receiving written pamphlets.

This suggests that "patient knowledge leads to behavioral changes and improved clinical outcomes," say Armstrong and team.

The patients gave the online video and written pamphlet equal ratings in terms of usefulness, but the online video was significantly more appealing than the pamphlet.

"Because the educational material was identical, these results may reflect an inherent learning benefit conferred by audio-visual presentation," the researchers comment.

"In addition, internet use as a healthcare tool is on the rise, making online-based education highly accessible and portable."

They conclude: "Online video for patient education appears to be an effective tool for improving clinical outcomes in adult patients with atopic dermatitis."

MedWire ( is an independent clinical news service provided by Current Medicine Group, a trading division of Springer Healthcare Limited. © Springer Healthcare Ltd; 2011

By Lucy Piper