Does Seeing Personal Medical Images Change Beliefs About Illness and Treatment in People with Gout? A Randomised Controlled Trial

Objective: To explore the effects of an educational intervention with embedded personal medical images on illness perceptions, medication beliefs and treatment understanding in patients with gout. Design: Sixty people with gout were recruited into the study with three arms. The participants viewed a 12-min presentation about gout with either personalised medical scans, generic scans or medical illustrations from a standard educational booklet on gout. Main Outcome Measures: Illness perceptions about gout and beliefs about treatment for gout were assessed at baseline and immediately after the intervention. Results: There were no significant time by group interaction effects. All groups showed an increase in treatment control beliefs (p = .002), medication necessity (p < .001), improved understanding of medicines for gout (p < .001) and reduced their perceived gout stigma (p = .004). The personalised intervention was rated as more interesting compared to one with medical illustrations (p = .026). Personal scans were found more helpful than generic scans (p = .023) and medical illustrations (p = .048). Conclusion: The brief educational intervention yielded positive changes in illness perceptions, medication beliefs and treatment understanding in all groups. Personal scans did not induce specific changes but made the information more interesting.