Patient Education Prior to Oncologist Visit Improves Knowledge and Attitude Toward Clinical Trials

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Access to an interactive patient education tool on clinical trials prior to the first oncologic visit improves knowledge, attitudes, and preparation for decision making about clinical trial participation, concludes study findings published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology online ahead of print.1

Lack of knowledge and negative attitudes toward clinical trials are known barriers to patient participation. Neal J. Meropol, MD, at University Hospitals Case Medical Center, Cleveland, Ohio, and a team of researchers developed Preparatory Education About Clinical Trials (PRE-ACT) in an effort to provide patient education on clinical trials as a treatment option to address knowledge and attitudinal barriers to patient participation.

PRE-ACT is a theory-guided, Web-based, interactive computer program designed to deliver patient education content. The program consists of 3 main components: assessment of clinical trials knowledge and attitudinal barriers, values assessment with clarification back to patients, and provision of a video library tailored to address each patient's barriers.

This prospective, randomized clinical study compared PRE-ACT with a control educational program consisting of general clinical trials information produced by the National Cancer Institute (NCI) in text format. The researchers randomly assigned 1255 patients to PRE-ACT or control intervention prior to their initial visit with an oncologist.

Both interventions improved patient knowledge and attitudes compared with baseline; however, increase in knowledge and decrease in attitudinal barriers were significantly greater in those patients in the PRE-ACT group compared with those in the control group. Preparedness to consider clinical trials was also significantly improved in both groups (P<.001), but a trend favored the PRE-ACT group (P<.09). Greater patient satisfaction was also associated with the PRE-ACT program vs. NCI text alone.

Although both text and tailored video were effective, the interactive video program was more effective in improving knowledge and reducing attitudinal barriers, concluded the researchers.


1. Meropol NJ, Wong YN, Albrecht T, et al. Randomized trial of a Web-based intervention to address barriers to clinical trials [published online ahead of print December 23, 2015]. J Clin Oncol. doi:10.1200/NCO.2015.63.2257.
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