The study examined the impact of an educational intervention on the population with the highest prevalence of the disease.
When given an educational intervention via a digital platform, patients with atopic dermatitis experienced an increase in disease awareness and knowledge when compared to baseline, according to late-breaking research presented at the Revolutionizing Atopic Dermatitis conference in Washington, DC.1
Researchers sought to determine the impact of an informative digital intervention in a cohort of Hispanic participants, citing the highest prevalence of atopic dermatitis in Hispanic countries, as well as increasing disease incidence in the US and a rising Hispanic-American population.
“As we all know, AD [atopic dermatitis] has a very real and very significant impact on the quality of life of patients and their family members, but when we break it down to the social and demographic factors, there are some disparities that we see, particularly in the Hispanic population,” said Louis Andrade, lead author of the study.
Using WhatsApp, an instant messaging app and service, researchers developed and distributed a health knowledge survey and 7-day educational module. 55 participants, either patients with atopic dermatitis and/or parents of children diagnosed with atopic dermatitis, enrolled in the study.
Participants completed the health knowledge survey prior to completing the educational module, then additionally completed it following the module, and again 1 month after module completion.
At the conclusion of the educational module, researchers noted a 14% increase in atopic dermatitis health knowledge among patients following module completion. They also found that there was no significant difference between health knowledge survey results collected immediately after module completion versus 1 month after module completion, indicating information retention.
“The success of retained health knowledge regarding AD demonstrates that future virtual endeavors can be effective methods of patient education overall, and be accessible interventions for populations that might not have ease of access to major medical centers, are in rural areas, and/or in the international setting,” study authors wrote.
Researchers described the study as the first of its kind in the dermatology space, specifically for utilizing the WhatsApp platform.
“The feedback from the participants that we received was only on top of the health knowledge increase. We found that this was a great platform for them to share amongst themselves,” Andrade said. “They mentioned oftentimes, it’s one of the first few times where they were able to actually talk to the community and have a sense of belonging: ‘There’s other individuals that live the same reality that I do.’”