Effects of an individualized multimedia computer program for health education in patients with a recent minor stroke or transient ischemic attack – a randomized controlled trial


Lisette Maasland, Department of Neurology, Erasmus MC, PO Box 2040, 3000 CA Rotterdam, The Netherlands
Tel.: +31 10 4639222
Fax: +31 10 4089446
e-mail: e.maasland@erasmusmc.nl


Background –  Transient ischemic attack (TIA) and stroke patients often show a striking lack of knowledge about their disease. We developed a computer program that provided health education fitting the educational level, risk profile and symptoms of patients and evaluated it in a randomized controlled trial.

Methods –  Transient ischemic attack or minor stroke patients were allocated to health education by a physician (n = 32) or to a combination of education by a physician and the computer program (n = 33). Knowledge was tested by means of a questionnaire at 1 and 12 weeks after inclusion. The maximum possible score was 71 points.

Results –  Overall knowledge was low – the mean score was 43.6 at 1 week and 42.0 points at 12 weeks for both the groups. The intervention group had slightly better scores at 1 week after using the computer program, 45.4 vs 41.5 (P = 0.09), with the difference increasing to 4.3 points after (post-hoc) adjustment for age and level of education (P = 0.06). After 12 weeks, the score in the intervention group dropped significantly to 42.0 points (P = 0.05), and was no longer different from the standard group

Conclusion –  This study did not show a lasting effect of health education by an individualized computer program on the knowledge of TIA and minor stroke patients.