Objective: To evaluate the efficacy of video-assisted patient education to modify behavior.
Methods: Fourteen databases were searched for articles published between January 1980 and October 2013, written in English or German. Behavioral change as main outcome had to be assessed by direct measurement, objective rating, or laboratory data.
Results: Ten of the 20 reviewed studies reported successful behavioral modification in the treatment group. We discerned three different formats to present the information: didactic presentation (objective information given as verbal instruction with or without figures), practice presentation (real people filmed while engaged in a specific practice), narrative presentation (real people filmed while enacting scenes). Seven of the ten studies reporting a behavioral change applied a practice presentation or narrative presentation format.
Conclusion: The effectiveness of video-assisted patient education is a matter of presentation format. Videos that only provide spoken or graphically presented health information are inappropriate tools to modify patient behavior. Videos showing real people doing something are more effective.
Practice implications: If researchers wish to improve a skill, a model patient enacting the behavior seems to be the best-suited presentation format. If researchers aim to modify a more complex behavior a narrative presentation format seems to be most promising.
Keywords: Audio–visual aid; Health behavior; Patient education; Systematic review; Teaching material; Videotape recording.
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