*Robert Levine, MD
Founder and President, ArchieMD, Inc.
Demo-Interactive Presentation – Research Track
Sunday, Sept 30, 2012: 11:25 AM – 11:40 AM – Demo Pavilion

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Conventional print materials for presenting risks and benefits of treatment often lack visual salience and may be difficult to understand.  This study, therefore, was undertaken to evaluate and compare subjects’ understanding and perceptions of risks and benefits presented using animated computerized text and graphics.

Materials and Methods
Adult subjects were randomized to receive identical risk/benefit information regarding taking statins for hypercholesterolemia presented on an iPad® in one of four different formats i.e., 1) text/numbers, 2) pie-chart, 3) bar graph, and 4) pictograph.  Subjects then completed a questionnaire regarding their preferences and perceptions of the message delivery together with their understanding of the information.  Health literacy, numeracy, and need for cognition were measured using validated instruments.

There were no differences in subject gist and verbatim understanding based on the different formats.  However, significantly more subjects stated that they preferred graphs (82.5%) compared with text (17.5%, P < 0.001). Specifically, subjects preferred pictographs (32.0%) and bar graphs (31.0%) over pie-charts (19.5%) and text (17.5%).  Subjects whose preference for message delivery matched their randomly assigned format (preference match) had significantly greater understanding and satisfaction compared with those assigned to something other than their preference.

Results showed that computer-animated depictions of risks and benefits offer an effective and acceptable means to describe risk/benefit statistics.  The observation that understanding and satisfaction were significantly better when the format matched the individual’s preference for message delivery is important and reinforces the value of “tailoring” information to the individual’s informational needs and preferences.