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Patient Educ Couns. 2013 Dec;93(3):394-402. doi: 10.1016/j.pec.2013.06.026. Epub 2013 Aug 1.

Communicating global cardiovascular risk: are icon arrays better than numerical estimates in improving understanding, recall and perception of risk?

Author information

1
Laboratory of E-learning and Multimedia Research, Bruce W. Carter VA Geriatric Research Education and Clinical Center (GRECC), Miami, USA; University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, Miami, USA. Electronic address: Jruiz2@med.miami.edu.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

Experts recommend that adults have their global cardiovascular risk assessed. We investigated whether icon arrays increase understanding, recall, perception of CVR, and behavioral intent as compared with numerical information.

METHODS:

Male outpatient veterans, at an intermediate to high cardiovascular risk participated in a randomized controlled trial of a computer tutorial presenting individualized risk. Message format was presented in 3 formats: percentages, frequencies, and frequencies with icon arrays. We assessed understanding immediately (T1) and recall at 20 min (T2) and 2 weeks (T3) after the intervention. We assessed perceptions of importance/seriousness, intent to adhere, and self-efficacy at T1. Self-reported adherence was assessed at T3.

RESULTS:

One-hundred and twenty male veterans participated. Age, education, race, health literacy and numeracy were comparable at baseline. There were no differences in understanding at T1 [p = .31] and recall at T3 [p = .10]. Accuracy was inferior with frequencies with icon arrays than percentages or frequencies at T2 [p ≤ .001]. There were no differences in perception of seriousness and importance for heart disease, behavioral intent, self-efficacy, actual adherence and satisfaction.

CONCLUSION:

Icon arrays may impair short-term recall of CVR.

PRACTICE IMPLICATIONS:

Icon arrays will not necessarily result in better understanding and recall of medical risk in all patients.

KEYWORDS:

Cardiovascular risk; Decision-making; Graphical literacy; Health literacy; Icon arrays; Numeracy; Perception of risk; Visual aids

PMID:
23916416
DOI:
10.1016/j.pec.2013.06.026
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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