Comprehension by Caregivers and Adolescents of Clinical Trial Information Delivered via Multimedia Video Versus Conventional Practice: Nonrandomized Controlled Trial

Kathryn V. Blake, Holly Antal, H. Timothy Bunnell, Jiaxian He, Robert Henderson, Janet T. Holbrook, Suzanne M. McCahan, Chris Pennington, Linda Rogers, David Shade, Elizabeth A. Sugar, Alexandra Taylor, Robert A. Wise, Tim Wysocki

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Research participants often misunderstand the required elements of informed consent information, whether provided in written or oral format. Informed consent instruments with embedded evidence-based learning theory principles administered in multimedia electronic formats may improve comprehension and retention. Objective: This study aims to determine whether study information comprehension and retention using an interactive multimedia video consent process was noninferior to comprehension and retention after an in-person face-to-face interaction with a conventional written consent document for caregivers and adolescents enrolled in a clinical trial. Methods: Participants were caregivers and children aged 12 to 17 years who were enrolled in a clinical trial of asthma treatment. Consent information was presented as a multimedia web-based video consent interaction or as a conventional written consent document with in-person interaction between the prospective participants and the study staff. The trial used a parallel nonrandomized noninferiority design that compared the 2 consent methods. Caregivers and adolescents completed a 17-item open-ended comprehension questionnaire (score range 17-51) at enrollment and at the end of the study 20 weeks later. Comprehension and retention were compared between the consent formats. Noninferiority was established if the 95% CI upper bound of the difference in scores (conventional format minus web-based) was less than the noninferiority margin of 2.4; superiority was established if the upper bound of the CI was <0. Results: In total, 54 caregiver and adolescent dyads completed the interactive multimedia web-based video consent, and 25 dyads completed the conventional consent. Overall, 33% (26/79) of all adolescents were Black, 57% (45/79) were male, and 61% (48/79) had a household income of <US $60, 000 per year. For caregivers, the interactive multimedia web-based format was noninferior to the conventional format at enrollment (difference between the conventional and web-based formats: mean -0.30, 95% CI -2.52 to 1.92) and was superior at the end of the study 20 weeks later (mean -2.20, 95% CI -3.9 to -0.5). There was a loss of comprehension over 20 weeks (mean -1.65, 95% CI -3.1 to -0.19) with the conventional format but not with the multimedia web-based format (mean 0.14, 95% CI -0.84 to 1.12). For adolescents, the noninferiority of the multimedia web-based format was not established. Conclusions: Caregivers who are considering enrolling their adolescent in an asthma clinical trial have similar comprehension of study information when delivered through an interactive multimedia web-based platform, which incorporates evidence-based learning theory principles, compared with having a conventional in-person, face-to-face discussion. The retention of study information over time was better with the multimedia format for caregivers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere44252
JournalJMIR Pediatrics and Parenting
StatePublished - 2023


  • adolescent
  • clinical trial
  • comprehension
  • informed consent
  • internet
  • multimedia

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Informatics
  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Biomedical Engineering


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