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Patient Educ Couns. 2005 Nov;59(2):148-57. Epub 2005 Jan 4.

The multimedia computer for office-based patient education: a systematic review.

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  • 1Department of Internal Medicine, Wake Forest University School of Medicine, Medical Center Blvd, Winston-Salem, NC 27157, USA.


Use of the multimedia computer for education is widespread in schools and businesses, and yet computer-assisted patient education is rare. In order to explore the potential use of computer-assisted patient education in the office setting, we performed a systematic review of randomized controlled trials (search date April 2004 using MEDLINE and Cochrane databases). Of the 26 trials identified, outcome measures included clinical indicators (12/26, 46.1%), knowledge retention (12/26, 46.1%), health attitudes (15/26, 57.7%), level of shared decision-making (5/26, 19.2%), health services utilization (4/26, 17.6%), and costs (5/26, 19.2%), respectively. Four trials targeted patients with breast cancer, but the clinical issues were otherwise diverse. Reporting of the testing of randomization (76.9%) and appropriate analysis of main effect variables (70.6%) were more common than reporting of a reliable randomization process (35.3%), blinding of outcomes assessment (17.6%), or sample size definition (29.4%). We concluded that the potential for improving the efficiency of the office through computer-assisted patient education has been demonstrated, but better proof of the impact on clinical outcomes is warranted before this strategy is accepted in the office setting.

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