An educational video might be a solution to improving patient education on acne and its treatment.

Acne is a common skin disease that can significantly affect QOL, but it is often difficult for clinicians to determine the level of patient awareness regarding how their condition is treated and managed. Shared decision-making (SDM) is a bidirectional process in which clinicians and patients jointly make treatment plans based on medical evidence and patient values. “SDM can improve patients’ knowledge, satisfaction, and treatment adherence,” says Wei-Ming Wang, MD, PhD. However, he adds, low health literacy can lead to negative consequences, including poorer health outcomes, lower treatment adherence, and frequent hospitalizations.

Recent studies have shown that using visual aids as health education materials, including pictograms and videos, appears to be an effective strategy for improving health literacy and medication adherence. For a study published in PLOS One, Dr. Wang and colleagues evaluated the use of a clinician-created educational video as a patient decision aid (PDA) to improve patients’ knowledge about the pathogenesis of acne, treatment choices, the mechanism of action for isotretinoin, and associated side effects. They also compared knowledge levels, preferences, and satisfaction after exposure to either an educational pamphlet or the clinician-created video.

Video Watching Produced Higher Scores Than Pamphlet Reading

For the study, investigators collected responses from patients in dermatology outpatient clinics using electronic devices. While patients waited to be seen, they first read educational pamphlets and completed a test. Subsequently, a clinician-created 8-minute video was accessed by patients using their mobile devices. These patients were then given another brief test and questionnaire about their satisfaction with the pamphlet and video. All patients read the educational pamphlets, completed the test, and then watched the video and took the test and questionnaires. During consultations, patients could meet with their dermatologist if they had any questions about either PDA tool.

The study team enrolled 50 patients with acne, including 33 men and 17 women, ranging in age from 15 to 47. Results showed that test scores on patients’ knowledge about acne improved significantly after watching the video. Test scores after watching the video were 99±4.79, compared with scores of 81±19.55 after reading the educational pamphlet. Similar findings were observed in a subgroup analysis by gender and in different age groups.

Video Leaves Lasting Impact as PDA for Patient Education

Based on feedback from the participants, researchers found that a higher proportion of patients preferred the educational video over the pamphlet. “All patients agreed that the video helped them understand the educational information and impressed them more than the pamphlet,” says Dr. Wang. “The video also allowed for SDM to be performed efficiently during the consultation.” Again, these findings remained similar for both men and women and for different age groups.

Most patients (82%) preferred the video to understand the mechanism of acne and side effects of oral isotretinoin, whereas 14% preferred the pamphlet and 4% felt the same about either PDA tool. Investigators also found that 76% of participants “strongly agreed” that the video left a greater impression than the pamphlet regarding the acne mechanism, treatment, and side effects of oral isotretinoin. In addition, 82% of patients “strongly agreed” that the video helped them understand the acne mechanism, treatment, and side effects of oral isotretinoin more efficiently (Figure).

The study team notes that the educational video developed for the study might be a solution to improving patient education on acne and its treatment. “The educational video is an efficient way to share information with patients and their relatives and help them understand the benefits, harms, and possible outcomes of different options,” Dr. Wang says, adding that using a clinician-created educational video as a PDA can empower clinicians to conduct SDM efficiently. Patients can also be reminded to watch the video anytime if they are unsure about treatment choices, side effects, or precautions with medications.