Multimedia understanding for medical trials

Researchers from The University of York in collaboration with the Hull York Medical School will investigate how the use of multimedia presentations affects recruitment and understanding in children and adolescence taking part in medical trails. Multimedia presentations are computer-based resources giving information via text, audio, video and even animations that can be viewed on laptops, tablet computers and smart phones.

Traditionally leaflets are used to inform participants and their parents about the medical trails they are taking part in, however they are frequently criticised for being too long, technical and difficult to understand. This research comes at an appropriate time when many young people are constantly exposed and interaction with technology. Multimedia presentations are also interactive, allowing the audience to view segments they are most concerned and interested with. Current research suggests that multimedia information is more effective for adult patients but this is yet to be studied in younger age groups.

There is considerable interest in this area from researchers not only in the UK but also North America and Australia. Researchers will compare the number of young people who agree to participate based on how they receive information – the traditional way, on a printed sheet or through multimedia. Additionally they will survey the young people’s understanding of the information and how sure patients and parents are that taking part in the trail was a good decision.

Dr Peter Knapp, a lead research in York pin points the importance of this study as it is ‘vital that different ways of giving health information are evaluated before use, not just introduced into practice without testing.’ The study will begin in January 2016 and take 28 months to complete.

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