A summary to communicate evidence from systematic reviews to the public improved understanding and accessibility of information: A randomized controlled trial

Nancy Santesso, Tamara Rader, Elin Strømme Nilsen, Claire Glenton, Sarah Rosenbaum, Agustín Ciapponi, Lorenzo Moja, Jordi Pardo Pardo, Qi Zhou, Holger J. Schünemann

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Objectives To evaluate a new format of a summary, which presents research from synthesized evidence to patients and the public. Study Design and Setting We conducted a randomized controlled trial in 143 members of the public from five countries (Canada, Norway, Spain, Argentina, and Italy). Participants received either a new summary format (a plain language summary [PLS]) or the current format used in Cochrane systematic reviews. The new PLS presents information about the condition and intervention, a narrative summary of results, and a table of results with absolute numbers for effects of the intervention and quality of the evidence using Grading of Recommendations Assessment, Development, and Evaluation. Results With the new PLS, more participants understood the benefits and harms and quality of evidence (53% vs. 18%, P <0.001); more answered each of the five questions correctly (P≤ 0.001 for four questions); and they answered more questions correctly, median 3 (interquartile range [IQR]: 1-4) vs. 1 (IQR: 0-1), P <0.001). Better understanding was independent of education level. More participants found information in the new PLS reliable, easy to find, easy to understand, and presented in a way that helped make decisions. Overall, participants preferred the new PLS. Conclusion This new PLS format for patients and the public is a promising tool to translate evidence from synthesized research.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)182-190
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Clinical Epidemiology
Volume68
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Feb 1 2015

Keywords

  • Communication
  • Comprehension
  • Consumer satisfaction
  • Information dissemination
  • Patient education as topic
  • Review literature as topic

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology
  • Medicine(all)

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