Audiovisual information and multi-language eHealth tools are promising for expanding patient participation

University of Amsterdam

Online health tools can play an important role in expanding patient participation among older cancer patients and older Turkish-Dutch and Moroccan-Dutch cancer patients. Nida Gizem Yılmaz discovered that the use of audiovisual information and multi-language eHealth tools offer a promising approach. On 30 October, she will defend her doctoral research at the University of Amsterdam.

image of a patient who undergoes medical treatment
(Still from animation produced by Behandeling Begrepen -‘Treatment Understood’- in association withWatch4Health)

Patient participation in western health care is an important core value. However, not all patients are capable of actively taking part in deciding on their treatment or in selecting a health-care institution. Older cancer patients are not always able to process complex information properly, because their cognitive and analytical reasoning skills have deteriorated with age. Furthermore, older cancer patients with a migration background often also have a language barrier in communicating with care providers.

eHealth interventions can be extremely useful in helping to overcome information processing problems and language barriers. In eHealth interventions, information can be provided in different ways using audiovisual aids, for instance, or accounts of other patients’ experiences in the patient’s native language. Health communication researcher Nida Gizem Yilmaz researched how effective online interventions are, or could be, and what adjustments need to be made to support patient participation among older patients and older migrant patients with inadequate Dutch language proficiency in oncological care.

Large amounts of text and a factual style

During the first part of her research, Yilmaz studied the effects of audiovisual and narrative information on information processing by older cancer patients and tested a number of online assistance options among various age groups. The information in assistance options is usually provided in text written in a factual style, which may make the information difficult to process. Yilmaz discovered that providing information in an audiovisual format had a positive effect on a number of outcomes. It reduced the uncertainty over choices, among other aspects. She found that the use of narratives has a positive effect on satisfaction with information but had less effect on cognitive information processing.

patient is talking with a doctor
(still from movieclip by Gökçe Sungur)

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