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ABSTRACT: Evaluation of a pictograph enhancement system for patient instruction: a recall study

Objective We developed a novel computer application called Glyph that automatically converts text to sets of illustrations using natural language processing and computer graphics techniques to provide high quality pictographs for health communication. In this study, we evaluated the ability of the Glyph system to illustrate a set of actual patient instructions, and tested patient recall of the original and Glyph illustrated instructions.

Methods We used Glyph to illustrate 49 patient instructions representing 10 different discharge templates from the University of Utah Cardiology Service. 84 participants were recruited through convenience sampling. To test the recall of illustrated versus non-illustrated instructions, participants were asked to review and then recall a set questionnaires that contained five pictograph-enhanced and five non-pictograph-enhanced items.

Results The mean score without pictographs was 0.47 (SD 0.23), or 47% recall. With pictographs, this mean score increased to 0.52 (SD 0.22), or 52% recall. In a multivariable mixed effects linear regression model, this 0.05 mean increase was statistically significant (95% CI 0.03 to 0.06, p<0.001).

Discussion In our study, the presence of Glyph pictographs improved discharge instruction recall (p<0.001). Education, age, and English as first language were associated with better instruction recall and transcription.

Conclusions Automated illustration is a novel approach to improve the comprehension and recall of discharge instructions. Our results showed a statistically significant in recall with automated illustrations. Subjects with no-colleague education and younger subjects appeared to benefit more from the illustrations than others.

via Evaluation of a pictograph enhancement system for patient instruction: a recall study — Zeng-Treitler et al. 21 (6): 1026 — Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association.

Brian S McGowan, PhD

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Brian is a research scientist and educational technologist. He helped transform Pfizer’s Medical Education Group and previously served in educational leadership roles at HealthAnswers, Inc.; Acumentis, LLC.; Cephalon; and Wyeth. He taught graduate medical education programs at Arcadia University for 10 years. Dr. McGowan recently authored the book "#socialQI: Simple Solutions for Improving Your Healthcare" and has been invited to speak internationally on the subject of information flow, technology, and learning in healthcare.

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