Are patient education materials about cancer screening more effective when co-created with patients? A qualitative interview study and randomized controlled trial

N. Y. Bashir, J. E. Moore, D. Buckland, M. Rodrigues, M. Tonelli, B. D. Thombs, N. R. Bell, W. Isaranuwatchai, T. Peng, D. M. Shilman, S. E. Straus


Background Patient education materials (pems) are frequently used to help patients make cancer screening decisions. However, because pems are typically developed by experts, they might inadequately address patient barriers to screening. We co-created, with patients, a prostate cancer (pca) screening pem, and we compared how the co-created pem and a pem developed by experts affected decisional conflict and screening intention in patients.

Methods We identified and used patient barriers to pca screening to co-create a pca screening pem with patients, clinicians, and researchers. We then conducted a parallel-group randomized controlled trial with men 40 years of age and older in Ontario to compare decisional conflict and intention about pca screening after those men had viewed the co-created pem (intervention) or an expert-created pem (control). Participants were randomized using dynamic block randomization, and the study team was blinded to the allocation.

Results Of 287 participants randomized to exposure to the co-created pem, 230 were analyzed, and of 287 randomized to exposure to the expert-created pem, 223 were analyzed. After pem exposure, intervention and control participants did not differ significantly in Decisional Conflict Scale scores [mean difference: 0.37 ± 1.23; 95% confidence interval (ci): –2.05 to 2.79]; in sure (Sure of myself, Understand information, Risk–benefit ratio, or Encouragement) scores (odds ratio: 0.75; 95% ci: 0.52 to 1.08); or in screening intention (mean difference: 0.09 ± 0.08; 95% ci: –0.06 to 0.24]).

Conclusions The effectiveness of the co-created pem did not differ from that of the pem developed by experts. Thus, pem developers should choose the method that best fits their goals and resources.


Patient engagement; co-creation; patient education materials; patient education; PCa screening

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ISSN: 1198-0052 (Print) ISSN: 1718-7729 (Online)