Scott A. Davis is a doctoral student in the Division of Pharmaceutical Outcomes and Policy at the University of North Carolina Eshelman School of Pharmacy.
Given the estimated 1 billion videos currently on YouTube, one might think that every important medical topic must be covered many times over. Thus I wasn’t surprised that my dissertation idea of testing a new online video to improve patients’ eye drop technique was met with some skepticism. Existing YouTube videos feature famous names from the likes of Johns Hopkins, Mayo Clinic, and the UK National Health Service. Why, then, am I proposing another one?
Health literacy: To reach the people who most need educational videos, roughly a fifth-grade reading level is recommended. Thirty-five percent of Americans have a basic or below basic health literacy level, and these are likely the population that need video instruction the most. That means avoiding difficult medical terminology such as “systemic absorption”.
Evidence-based coverage of all steps: Several videos did not mention blocking the tear ducts, hand washing before instilling eye drops, or even avoiding contamination of the bottle by not touch the eye or face. These are crucial steps to avoid eye infections from agents that can grow on the bottle.
vCultural appropriateness: An important study in the glaucoma literature found that their video intervention was less effective in African Americans, who are more likely to become blind from glaucoma than Caucasians. By incorporating the feedback that African American patients have provided in our past studies, we believe we can create a video that actually has the ability to reduce racial disparities in eye drop technique and adherence.
By incorporating these important principles, as well as the most advanced health behavior theory available, I believe our new video will enhance eye drop instillation skills and make much greater impact on the unfortunate burden of glaucoma. What do you think?