Developing a visual aid to improve women's knowledge of hysterectomy.


Hodges-Wills T(1), Ma S(1), Stockwell E(1), Pedroso J(1), Brotherton J(2), Medina W(2), Howard D(3).
Author information:
(1)Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Sunrise Health GME Consortium, Las Vegas, NV, USA.
(2)Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Harbor UCLA Medical Center, CA, USA.
(3)Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Sunrise Health GME Consortium, Las Vegas, NV, USA. Electronic address: [Email]


BACKGROUND: Female reproductive anatomy and physiology, compounded by low health literacy, can result in limited patient understanding of gynecologic procedures, complicating the already challenging patient decision-making process. OBJECTIVE: Describe a process of developing an effective visual aid that accurately communicates the risks, benefits, and possible outcomes of hysterectomy surgical approaches. PATIENT INVOLVEMENT: None. METHODS: This qualitative study was performed in a private practice and an academic institution with a total of 8 female non-clinical employees in the English-speaking group and 9 non-employees in the Spanish-speaking group. A 5-minute video focusing on the hysterectomy procedure was developed and shown to focus group participants. A discussion led by a sociologist obtained feedback regarding understanding and perceptions of video content to validate the tool, which was analyzed to extract themes that could guide refinements. RESULTS: Focus group participants wanted more information on post-hysterectomy quality of life and desired a longer video that included more general information about hysterectomies. All participants felt the video would be a valuable aid if watched prior to undergoing a hysterectomy and would be an effective tool for improving patient communication. DISCUSSION: While there was strong support for the video-based patient education program, participants found some elements confusing (e.g., type and magnitude of risk, scope of aftercare) and expressed interest in more in-depth information. Our development process would have been enhanced by involving patients before the initial version of the video was created, holding more and more diverse focus groups and ensuring that translation was both accurate and culturally appropriate. PRACTICAL VALUE: This study offers lessons learned in the process of developing a video-based visual aid for improving women's knowledge of hysterectomy and may inform other efforts to help patients understand complex medical pathology and procedures.