A New Video Aid for Communicating Risk in the Treatment of Pediatric Inflammatory Bowel Disease

Jeremy Adler

Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), including Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis, causes severe chronic bowel inflammation which damages the bowel wall.  All patients with Crohn’s disease, and many with ulcerative colitis require long-term immune suppressive therapy to control the inflammation and prevent the serious complications that IBD can cause if uncontrolled.

Immune suppressive medications are often effective at controlling inflammation and preventing disease-related complications.  However, using immune suppressive medications can increase the risk of adverse events like infections or cancers.  These complications are uncommon, but they can be serious.  People commonly perceive the risks of medications as being higher than they actually are, and under-appreciate the risk of the disease.  

Balancing the risk of immune suppressive medications and the risk of disease is challenging for physicians and families.  There are several tools and educational materials that are designed to help with communicating the risks of medicines.  However, most visual aids often don’t compare medications to one another side-by-side, and typically don’t present comparative information about the risks of the disease itself it under-treated, making it difficult to help families with decision making.

To help improve communication of the real risks of both medications and of IBD, we developed some charts and graphics to help illustrate these risks side-by-side.  We developed a simple narrated video aid using charts and graphs to illustrate the competing risks of different medications and of the underlying disease in children with IBD.  Families of children with IBD volunteered to participate in the study. Families who viewed the educational video had more realistic perceptions of the risk of medications and the IBD compared to families who did not view the educational video.

This video was made with commonly available software, making it easy to update as new evidence becomes available.  It can also be adapted for use in other diseases.

Read about the full report here

See the video aid here

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