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Effects of presentation method on the understanding of informed consent


Background/aim: Knowledge of which presentation methods impart the most information to patients can improve the informed consent discussion. The purpose of this study was to determine if the comprehension and recall of the informed consent discussion varied with presentation method.

Methods: Randomised, prospective study at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences. 90 freshmen medical students were randomly assigned to one of three groups and separately went through an informed consent on cataract surgery. Group A heard an informed consent presentation. Group B was shown diagrams while hearing the same presentation. Group C heard the consent and then watched an informational video on cataract surgery. A 10 point multiple choice quiz was administered after the presentation and repeated again 1 week later.

Results: Scores from each group were averaged as number correct out of 10 questions. For same day scores, group C scores (7.70 (SD 1.24)) were significantly higher than group A (6.39 (1.63)). One week testing revealed that group C (6.96 (1.62)) recalled more between the two time periods and scored significantly higher than groups A (5.15 (2.11)) and B (5.54 (1.64)).

Conclusions: This study found differences in the participants’ ability to recall facts based on the manner in which the material was presented. It clearly demonstrated that the use of visual aids improved the ability to remember facts and risks associated with cataract surgery beyond a verbal presentation alone. It also showed a benefit of the repetition of information as provided by audiovisual presentations that can be used in conjunction with the physician-patient discussion.

  • informed consent
  • cataract surgery

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