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Open Access Highly Accessed Research article

A systematic review of interactive multimedia interventions to promote children’s communication with health professionals: implications for communicating with overweight children

Carol Raaff1*, Cris Glazebrook1 and Heather Wharrad2

Author Affiliations

1 School of Medicine, Division of Psychiatry and Applied Psychology, Institute of Mental Health, University of Nottingham, Jubilee Campus, Nottingham, UK

2 School of Health Sciences, Division of Nursing, Queen’s Medical Centre, University of Nottingham, Nottingham, UK

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BMC Medical Informatics and Decision Making 2014, 14:8  doi:10.1186/1472-6947-14-8

Published: 22 January 2014

Abstract

Background

Interactive multimedia is an emerging technology that is being used to facilitate interactions between patients and health professionals. The purpose of this review was to identify and evaluate the impact of multimedia interventions (MIs), delivered in the context of paediatric healthcare, in order to inform the development of a MI to promote the communication of dietetic messages with overweight preadolescent children. Of particular interest were the effects of these MIs on child engagement and participation in treatment, and the subsequent effect on health-related treatment outcomes.

Methods

An extensive search of 12 bibliographic databases was conducted in April 2012. Studies were included if: one or more child-participant was 7 to 11-years-of-age; a MI was used to improve health-related behaviour; child-participants were diagnosed with a health condition and were receiving treatment for that condition at the time of the study. Data describing study characteristics and intervention effects on communication, satisfaction, knowledge acquisition, changes in self-efficacy, healthcare utilisation, and health outcomes were extracted and summarised using qualitative and quantitative methods.

Results

A total of 14 controlled trials, published between 1997 and 2006 met the selection criteria. Several MIs had the capacity to facilitate engagement between the child and a clinician, but only one sought to utilise the MI to improve communication between the child and health professional. In spite of concerns over the quality of some studies and small study populations, MIs were found useful in educating children about their health, and they demonstrated potential to improve children’s health-related self-efficacy, which could make them more able partners in face-to-face communications with health professionals.

Conclusions

The findings of this review suggest that MIs have the capacity to support preadolescent child-clinician communication, but further research in this field is needed. Particular attention should be given to designing appropriate MIs that are clinically relevant.

Keywords:
Children; Preadolescent; Multimedia intervention; Clinicians; Health professionals; Communication; Face-to-face; Treatment; Diet; Overweight