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Urol Nurs. 2007 Dec;27(6):499-506.

An assessment of the virtual conversations method for prostate cancer patient education.

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Interactive Drama Inc., Bethesda, MD, USA.



Virtual dialogue is a specific educational methodology that employs speech recognition, digital video, and computer technologies in a symbiotic relationship to allow users to have the illusion of a face-to-face conversation with a person in cyberspace. A voice-activated, interactive, virtual dialogue with a prostate cancer specialist was developed and tested in a clinical setting at the Walter Reed Army Medical Center (WRAMC).


The purpose of this study was two-fold: (a) to create a prototype virtual dialogue program on the subject of prostate cancer and (b) to evaluate the effectiveness of this method to educate men about their disease and treatment.


Participants were recruited using a convenience sample of patients attending the Center for Prostate Disease Research multidisciplinary clinic at WRAMC. An automated pretest and post-test instrument was developed by the investigators to assess patients' knowledge before and after the virtual dialogue session.


A total of 33 patients volunteered for the study. Results from this convenience sample showed an increase in patients' knowledge and positive acceptance of this innovative method of patient education.


The data resulting from this study provide persuasive evidence that a virtual dialogue with a knowledgeable health professional can be a useful and highly effective method for educating men about prostate cancer. This method may also offer an effective way for health professionals to systematically provide their patients with comprehensive and reliable information.

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