Royal North Shore Hospital

Use of video animations in clinical consent

This project involved the use of video animations to provide information to patients attending the Dermatology Clinic at Royal North Shore Hospital in Sydney. Dr. Saunderson and her colleagues used a randomised clinical trial methodology to investigate whether the use of an animation that explains a surgical procedure used to treat skin cancer would be as useful as standard methods. The work has been published in the Journal of The American Academy of Dermatology (JAAD).

A total of 102 patients were enrolled and randomised into either a video-assisted consent using an animation or a control group who underwent consent using standard methods. The group of patients who were consented using the video format performed significantly better in a knowledge questionnaire compared to those in the control arm (p= 0.02). Importantly, the majority (78.4%) of patients reported that they preferred watching the video before speaking with the doctor. Interestingly, about 1 in 20 (5.9%) of people were happy to just watch the video and not speak with the doctor. About 1 in 10 (9.8%) would prefer to speak to the doctor and didn’t want to watch the video.

The Human Research Ethics Committees (HREC) reviewing the project (Nepean and Blue Mountains Local Health District [LHD] HREC, NSW) reported that the use of the video raised no concerns at all and was seen as a useful addition to the material provided to patients. The only issues raised by the HREC with the investigators were methodological questions related to the way in which the tools were used to establish patient knowledge and preferences. These were all resolved in the normal manner of questions raised and protocol modifications applied where appropriate.

This study demonstrates that use of digital technologies is a useful addition to providing information to patients that complements existing communication strategies.

For further information about this Project please contact:

Dr Rebecca Saunderson, Dermatologist
Department of Dermatology, RNSH, and Consentic

Penny Maharais, Executive Officer, Nepean Blue Mountains LHD HREC

Dr Ian Seppelt, Chair, Nepean Blue Mountains LHD HREC