Introduction: Patients' lack of knowledge is a key barrier to therapy adherence. We aimed to gather insights into atrial fibrillation (AF) patients' education needs from patient and clinician viewpoints.
Methods: We conducted a qualitative descriptive study using purposive sampling and semi-structured interviews with AF patients and clinicians recruited from AF clinics. Data from patients and clinicians were analyzed independently and iteratively through inductive qualitative thematic analysis.
Results: Eleven clinicians and 10 patients were interviewed. Three themes emerged from analysis of clinician data: (1) patients' knowledge gaps and misconceptions, (2) clinicians' experiences teaching AF patients, and (3) clinicians' suggestions for AF education programs. Four themes emerged from the patient data: (1) emotional appraisal of the disease, (2) information seeking behavior, (3) knowledge gaps, and (4) education preferences. A key finding was identification of the need for education that addresses patients' unjustified anxieties by emphasizing that AF is not fatal, and that many patients with AF live a normal life. Risk communication was identified as the most challenging aspect of AF education. In synthesizing our findings, we developed evidence-based recommendations for educational strategies for AF.
Conclusion: We found that AF patients have many knowledge gaps and misconceptions, significant emotional education needs, and a positive attitude towards online and classroom education. In synthesizing our findings, we developed evidence-based recommendations which can inform the design of AF patient education programs and initiatives.
Keywords: Atrial fibrillation; Education needs assessment; Patient education.
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