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Acceptability to and Engagement With a Virtual Sickle Cell Trait Education Program (SCTaware): Single-Center Prospective Study

HumanInsight Acceptability to and Engagement With a Virtual Sickle Cell Trait Education Program (SCTaware): Single-Center Prospective Study

JMIR Form Res. 2022 Nov 17;6(11):e38780. doi: 10.2196/38780.


BACKGROUND: Public health programs are tasked with educating the community on health topics, but it is unclear whether these programs are acceptable to learners. Currently, these programs are delivered via a variety of platforms including in-person, virtually, and over the telephone. Sickle cell trait (SCT) education for parents of children with this trait is one of many education programs provided by the Ohio Department of Health. The novel SCTaware videoconference education program was developed by a research team after central Ohio's standard program transitioned from in-person to telephone-only education during the COVID-19 pandemic.

OBJECTIVE: Our objectives were to investigate the acceptability of the format and engagement with the SCTaware education and assess parental worry about having a child with SCT before and after receiving SCTaware.

METHODS: This was a single-center, prospective study of English-speaking parents of children <3 years of age identified to have hemoglobin S trait by newborn screening. Parents who previously received SCT education by telephone, were able to be contacted, and had access to an electronic device capable of videoconferencing were eligible to complete surveys after receiving the virtual SCTaware education program. The SCTaware educator also completed a survey to assess participant engagement. Data were summarized descriptively and a McNemar test was used to compare parental worry before and after receiving SCTaware.

RESULTS: In total, 55 participants completed follow-up surveys after receiving standard SCT telephone education and then completing SCTaware. Most (n=51) participants reported that the SCTaware content and visuals were very easy to understand (n=47) and facilitated conversation with the educator (n=42). All of them said the visuals were respectful and trustworthy, helped them understand content better, and that their questions were addressed. Nearly two-thirds (62%, n=34) reported that the pictures appeared very personal and applied to them. The educator noted most participants (n=45) were engaged and asked questions despite having to manage distractions during their education sessions. Many participants (n=33) reported some level of worry following telephone-only education; this was significantly reduced after receiving SCTaware (P<.001).

CONCLUSIONS: Our results suggest that SCTaware is acceptable and engaging to parents. While telephone education may make SCT education more accessible, these findings suggest that many parents experience significant worry about their child with SCT after these sessions. A study to evaluate SCTaware's effectiveness at closing parents' SCT knowledge gaps is ongoing.

PMID:36394943 | DOI:10.2196/38780

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