The effect of multimedia interventions on the informed consent process for cataract surgery in rural South India

Indian J Ophthalmol. 2014 Feb;62(2):171-5. doi: 10.4103/0301-4738.116488.


Context: The provision of ocular surgical interventions for poorer, less educated populations is increasing as a result of increased globalization and outreach. However, these populations still have trouble understanding surgical concepts and are not always fully informed decision makers.

Aims: We aimed to test the effect that a multimedia addition to a traditional verbal informed consent would have on patient comprehension of relatively difficult cataract surgical concepts.

Settings and design: We conducted a randomized controlled trial with relatively uneducated patients reporting to a private surgical hospital in Chennai, India. 47 patients were placed into the intervention group and 50 patients were placed into the control group.

Materials and methods: The intervention group was presented with a scripted verbal informed consent as well as a 3-fold pamphlet and a presentation with a 3-dimensional model of the eye. The control group was only presented with a scripted verbal informed consent. The two groups were tested using an 11 item "True/False/I don't know" quiz directly before the informed consent, directly after the informed consent, and one-day postoperatively.

Statistical analysis used: Scores on the quiz were compared across groups and time-points using paired t-tests.

Results: Patients in the both groups showed a significant improvement in scores between pre- and post-informed consent quizzes (P value on the order of 10(-6)) and the improvement in scores was significantly greater in the intervention group than the control group (P value on the order of 10(-16)). There was no significant difference observed in either group with regards to the change in scores between post-informed consent and post-operative quizzes.

Conclusion: Multimedia aids in addition to a standard informed consent process are effective in improving patient comprehension even for patients with low literacy and limited knowledge of surgical interventions.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Cataract / epidemiology*
  • Cataract Extraction / psychology*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • India / epidemiology
  • Informed Consent*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Multimedia / standards*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Rural Population
  • Surveys and Questionnaires