Background: Children often have limited understanding of clinical research and what they might expect from participating in a clinical study. Studies, however, suggest that multimedia delivery of medical and research information may promote greater understanding and engagement compared with standard written approaches.
Aim: This study was designed to examine the effects of a novel interactive augmented reality (AR) program on children’s understanding of clinical research. Methods: Children (ages 7-13 yrs.) were randomized to receive basic information about clinical research using either a printed storybook (control) or the same storybook enhanced using a video-see-through augmented reality iPad program (AR) with embedded interactive quizzes. Children were interviewed to assess their understanding of the material before (pre-test) and after (post-test) receiving either of the randomized interventions. Both parents and children completed short surveys to measure their perceptions of the information delivery.
Results: 91 parent/child dyads were included in the analysis. There were no differences between the control and AR children's pre-test understanding of the research information. However, both groups demonstrated significant and similar improvements in post-test understanding. Parents of children in the AR group found the information to be of higher quality and greater clarity compared with the control group, and 91.7% of children in the AR group found the inclusion of interactive quizzes to be helpful. Both parents and children found the AR program very easy to use and 85.0 % and 71.2%, respectively, indicated that if recruited for a future study that they would prefer information delivered using some type of iPad AR program together with a discussion with the researcher.
Conclusions: Results demonstrated the importance of providing children and parents with information in an easy to read and visually compelling manner. Although both groups demonstrated improved understanding, children and their parents preferred the AR program and reported a preference for receiving information using computer-based technology. Given the seemingly insurmountable challenge of keeping children and families engaged in health research related information exchange, the use of AR would appear to provide a novel and effective vehicle for enhancing children's and parents assimilation and understanding of research (and medical) information and as a potential tool to optimize the informed consent and assent processes.
Relevance for patients: This study reinforces the importance in providing information to research participants and patients in an easy-to-read and visually salient manner. Although the augmented reality program used in this study did not result in an increased level of understanding, AR was deemed the preferred method of information delivery. It is hoped that the results of this study will serve as a platform for future studies.
Department of 1Anesthesiology, 2Michigan Institute for Clinical & Health Research, Michigan Medicine, and 3ALTality Inc., Ann Arbor, MI, United States
Alan. R. Tait
Department of Anesthesiology, Michigan Medicine, 1500 E. Medical Center Drive, Ann Arbor, MI 48109
TEL: +1 (734) 763-8128e-mail:
Department of Pharmaceutics, Utrecht University, the Netherlands
Department of Pharmaceutics, Jiaxing University Medical College, Zhejiang, China