This article was originally published here
J Appl Clin Med Phys. 2022 Apr 28:e13601. doi: 10.1002/acm2.13601. Online ahead of print.
OBJECTIVES: To improve patient education delivered over telemedicine by using a “flipped classroom”-inspired approach.
METHODS: A “flipped classroom” is an education strategy used to engage active learning by sending students home with lecture material and reserving classroom time for collaborative learning. To adapt this approach for use in radiation oncology patient education, three pieces of written education material were created: introduction to radiation oncology, treatment planning scan, and treatment delivery. An automated system was created to deliver precisely timed emails at three time points ahead of appointments. Appointment time was then used for collaborative learning with our staff. As a primary endpoint, email engagement metrics were tracked via the automated system. Secondarily, enrolled patients were surveyed to assess level of understanding (before vs. after intervention), anxiety (before vs. after intervention), and satisfaction. Additionally, email delivery timing, clarity, relevance, and patient support were evaluated. Data analyses test the impact of active learning against our existing education approaches.
RESULTS: Overall, 77.1% of the emails were opened, and of those, patients accessed 72.2% of the education material. Patients re-read the education material 4.6 times on average. Active learning increased patient understanding regarding the purpose of the treatment planning scan (p = 0.031) and increased patient understanding of what to expect during daily radiation treatments (p = 0.0078). Patients reported reduced anxiety (p = 0.031) and high scores for satisfaction, timing, clarity, relevance, and overall support.
CONCLUSIONS: Patient engagement with the education material was high, and they continued to access it many times. Active learning enhances patient comprehension of complex treatment information leading to decreased anxiety. Furthermore, this technique can be incorporated into existing telemedicine with basic technology.