Older patients and hospital choices: decision aids with experience narratives can help

Published on February 3, 2022 – Hospital report cards (HRCs), i.e., tools that aim to enable patients to make hospital choices that better match with their preferences, contain too abstract and difficult information to be used in multi-attribute decisions, likely leading to cognitive overload – especially in older patients. A potentially fruitful strategy to enhance information processing when using HRCs is to present information in HRCs in an audiovisual and (process or experience) narrative format.

Together with Amsterdam UMC and LUMC, ACHC researchers published a study in Health Expectations. This study investigated the effects of audiovisual and narrative information in HRCs on user responses (N = 631) on breast cancer care, and tested differences between older and younger respondents. What we found is that:

  • Audiovisual information resulted in higher information satisfaction across age groups compared to textual information;
  • Audiovisual information was associated with lower comprehension in older women compared to textual information;
  • An experience narrative compared to factual information increased satisfaction with attractiveness and emotional support of the information only in older women;
  • Older women were most satisfied with the comprehensibility of audiovisual factual or textual process narrative information, while younger women were most satisfied with the comprehensibility of audiovisual process narrative or textual factual information.

These findings suggest that incorporating narratives into HRCs might have beneficial effects on older patients, while adding audiovisual information to HRCs can increase satisfaction with the information for patients of all ages.

The publication can be found here.

Financial support for this study was provided by a grant from the Dutch Cancer Society.