Research Article: The Effect of Alternative Graphical Displays Used to Present the Benefits of Antibiotics for Sore Throat on Decisions about Whether to Seek Treatment: A Randomized Trial

Date Published: August 25, 2009

Publisher: Public Library of Science

Author(s): Cheryl L. L. Carling, Doris Tove Kristoffersen, Signe Flottorp, Atle Fretheim, Andrew D. Oxman, Holger J. Schünemann, Elie A. Akl, Jeph Herrin, Thomas D. MacKenzie, Victor M. Montori, Glyn Elwyn

Abstract: In a randomized trial, Cheryl Carling and colleagues evaluate how people respond to different statistical presentations regarding the consequences of taking antibiotic treatment for sore throat.

Partial Text: Relevant, reliable, and accessible information about the effects of interventions is essential for informed choices about health care. The manner in which this information is presented affects how it is understood by both patients and physicians, and their subsequent health care decisions [1]–[3].

The CONSORT checklist and the protocol for this study are available as supporting information; see Text S1 and Text S2.

The trial was conducted September–October 2004 and stopped when recruitment tapered off after three weeks. There were 1,760 participants after excluding those under 18 (see flow diagram, Figure S1). The five groups were similar with respect to sex, age, education, and VAS scores for their values (Table 1). Sixty-nine percent were women, compared to 51% in the Norwegian population. A larger proportion of participants were under 40, a smaller proportion over 50, and a larger proportion had university level education, compared to the general population.

In the course of 26 days (13 September to 8 October 2004), there were 4,053 log-ons to the study Web site, resulting in 1,760 usable records. TV recruitment was substantially more successful than the methods we used in previous studies, including the use of commercial email lists and advertising [18],[19]. In those studies it took two years to recruit just under 3,000 participants using other methods [19].



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