Information technologies such as tablet PCs are playing an increasingly important role in the communication with patients. But how effective are they for older adults, who often have difficulties understanding medical information and who are not technology-affine?
Prof. Dr. Sonia Lippke from Jacobs University.
A recently published study by Jacobs University has investigated this. The result: traditional paper formats are better suited for this target group to communicate health-related information than those on tablet PCs.
Information and communication are basic prerequisites for participation in the medical decision-making process. It is particularly important for people with impaired health competence to be able to access and understand the information they receive from their medical doctors. In their study, Dr. Shu Ling Tan, Dr. Amanda Whittal and Prof. Sonia Lippke from Jacobs University compared traditional brochures with photo stories. This form of presentation, which was developed in cooperation with the University Medical Center Groningen (Netherlands) for the communication of elderly patients with the doctors, is based on comic layout, pictures and texts in speech bubbles.
The 126 participants in the study, aged 50 and older, were shown both formats on paper and on a tablet PC. Compared to the traditional brochure, the participants found the photo story to be easier to understand and more informative. They preferred it in the paper form, which seemed less monotonous and boring than the Tablet PC. The least effective way to display the brochure was on the Tablet PC. The study was financed by the EU as part of the IROHLA study, which involved more than 20 partners from various European countries. It aimed to improve the health literacy and health knowledge of older people in Europe.
MEDICA-tradefair.com; Source: Jacobs University Bremen gGmbH