Patients with atopic dermatitis (AD) benefit from extensive patient education. A new report suggests group-based sessions are preferred to individual educational sessions or fun activities.
A new report based on surveys of patients with atopic dermatitis (AD) shows group-based educational programs led by experts yield the highest rates of patient satisfaction. The analysis offers insights into how physicians and patient educators can better address the needs of patients with AD.
Writing in Annals of Dermatology, corresponding author Yong Hyun Jang, of Kyungpook National University in South Korea, and colleagues explained that the complexity of AD means patients with a new diagnosis have a significant knowledge gap.
“Because of the tendency to proceed chronically, patient education for AD is essential in the care of patients with AD,” they wrote.
Jang and colleagues said existing research has shown that patient education can improve AD management and control; however, it is not yet known which types of educational programs correlate with the highest levels of patient and caregiver satisfaction.
In hopes of finding out, they conducted a series of half-day educational programs called “AD School” over the course of several years. A total of 831 people (493 patients and 338 family members) participated in the programs, which included a variety of education and entertainment components. Following the program, participants were asked to complete a satisfaction and perception survey on site, and 209 family surveys were obtained and analyzed for study data.
The investigators broke down their educational components into 3 types of events—individual education, group education, and fun activities—as well as overall satisfaction. Satisfaction was gauged by asking patients if they had fun, benefited from the activity, intended to do the activity again, and intended to recommend the program to others.
“We have found that all 3 types of program sessions (individual education, group education, and fun activity) can contribute to overall satisfaction from the on-site survey conducted over the past 7 years,” the investigators wrote.
Yet, education led by dermatology professors was found to be most relevant to overall satisfaction. One reason, they noted, is that group education necessarily covers many different topics in order to meet the needs of all participants. Since AD changes over time, patients attending such programs may leave with a broader perspective of what to expect, the authors said.
“We believe that group education by experts is traditional, but in reality, it is still useful because it effectively delivers a large amount of information about AD,” they wrote. “There is also some evidence that group educational programs are more cost-effective and better in supporting lifestyle changes in other medical conditions such as diabetes.”
Although the study suggested group education is ideal in terms of patient satisfaction, the authors cautioned that their analysis does not indicate whether higher patient satisfaction led to better long-term outcomes. The investigators are conducting periodic follow-up research with study enrollees in hopes of better understanding how outcomes are linked. Another limitation, they said, is that many of the participants were children, so survey results may be more indicative in some cases of the adult family members than of the patients themselves.
Still, they said their analysis should help guide health care professionals as they devise ways to educate patients with AD.
“Determining which programs affect participants’ engagement and satisfaction based on our structural equation model can help guide dermatologists in selecting appropriate strategies to promote the active engagement of patients and families and overall satisfaction,” they concluded.
Ryoo JH, Lee SH, Lee HJ, et al. Participants' satisfaction with the Atopic Dermatitis Education Program: assessing the impact of each content using structural equation modeling. Ann Dermatol. 2021;33(3):237-244. doi:10.5021/ad.2021.33.3.237