Apr 16, 2019 11:49 AM EDT
Physicians need to fully inform patients about what the procedure will entail before undergoing surgery. Most times, because of the complex nature of the information involved, patients feel overwhelmed rather than well informed. Charite-Universitatsmedizin Berlin's researchers were able to reveal that patients scheduled to undergo cardiac catheterization may find comic-style information helpful. The researchers showed the comic-style booklet to help patient comprehension and reduce anxiety. They published the results of their research in the Annals of Internal Medicine.
The main goal of the informed consent procedure is to enable patients to make an autonomous decision for or against a specific type of treatment. Another aspect of this process is the provision of details to the patients of what the procedure entails. Not only that, but patients will also receive advice regarding the expected medical benefits and potential risks involved. Patients that have coronary heart disease, however, have been shown to not fully grasp the necessary procedural steps involved in cardiac catheterization even after undergoing this informed consent procedure. Base on this issue, patients were also able to evaluate the benefits of this procedure.
Dr. Verena Stangi of the Medical Department, Division of Cardiology and Angiology on Campus Charite Mitte, explained that they got the inspiration through the notion that a picture is worth more than a thousand words. They wanted to use graphical representations to help patients understand the procedural details provided as part of the informed consent procedure.
Prof. Stangi worked alongside Dr. Anna Brand, the study's other lead investigator and a fellow cardiologist to develop a 15-page comic-style booklet which explains the most common procedure in the field of cardiology, cardiac catheterization, followed by the insertion of a stent to open a narrowed or blocked artery. Prof. Stangi further said that what their pilot study revealed were patients who received this comic-style felt well prepared for surgery.
The researchers recruited a total of 121 patients scheduled to undergo cardiac catheterization. Then, patients either underwent the standard informed consent procedure or standard informed consent with additional comic-style information. The team also used a range of questionnaires which they administered both before and after the informed consent procedure. They also assessed levels of anxiety and comprehension as well as satisfaction with the consenting process.
Science communication specialist, Alexandra Hamann developed both the concept and manuscript for the comic-based information. Hamann worked in close consultation with the two medical experts, Prof. Stangi and Dr. Brand. Sophia Martineck who was the illustrator used the manuscript to develop the comic-style booklet. The Friede Springer Foundation funded the project. The comic-style information will be used as part of the informed consent procedure before cardiac catheterization.
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