המידע באדיבות מדיקונטקסט
Last Updated: 2001-07-17 10:00:11 EDT (Reuters Health)
CHICAGO (Reuters Health) – An hour-long, interactive computer program may succeed in improving the outcome and knowledge of asthmatic children where traditional education efforts have failed, according to a report by Dr. Benjamin Francisco presented here at the Third Triennial World Asthma Meeting last week.
Dr. Francisco and his colleagues at the University of Missouri in Columbia designed a program to help school-aged children and their families understand the basics of asthma, including important environmental triggers and how asthma drugs work to treat or prevent episodes of airway constriction.
Dr. Francisco's team randomly assigned 232 asthmatic children to one of two groups. Children and caregivers in both groups received conventional verbal and printed information about asthma. Intervention group participants received additional instruction through the Interactive Multimedia Pediatric Asthma Computer Tutorial (IMPACT).
After 20 months, participants in the IMPACT group had experienced fewer days of asthma symptoms, fewer emergency room visits and a decreased daily dose of inhaled corticosteroids. Children in the IMPACT group also increased their knowledge in ways that may correlate with fewer urgent physician visits and less frequent use of quick-relief medicines, according to the investigators.
Dr. Francisco said that IMPACT is full-featured and web-enabled; children see and hear sounds and are taught by animated characters, "so that when children sit down to use the program, they don't just get a canned presentation–a computer looks at their record, understands what they've already learned and presents to them new lessons, or lessons to review concepts that weren't mastered," he explained. Therefore, "the children's time is used better and they learn more quickly."
This type of program, which can be loaded on both school and home computers, would work well in low-income areas where conventional asthma education has not been successful, Dr. Francisco said.
IMPACT will be distributed commercially through the University of Missouri Health Science Bookstore, at a cost of about $3.00 per child, Dr. Francisco continued. "In a school, for example, you would need just one CD that could be loaded on 100 computers, and each site has its own database to maintain records."
-Westport Newsroom 203 319 2700