Making Child Health Evidence Usable to the Public: What Do Parents Want?

Student Researcher:
Harrison Anzinger

Supervisor / Principle Investigator:
Lisa Hartling

Additional Authors:
Sarah Elliott

MD Class of 2021


Connecting parents to research evidence is known to improve health decision making. However, guidance on how to develop effective knowledge translation (KT) tools which synthesize child health evidence into a form understandable by parents is lacking. We conducted a comparative usability analysis of three KT tools to identify parent preferences and factors which influenced their usability.

We evaluated the usability of a Cochrane plain language summary (PLS), blogshot, and a Systematic EvidEnce Disseminator (SEED) updated Wikipedia page on a child-health topic (Acute Otitis Media). Mixed method interviews involving a knowledge test, written questionnaire, and semi structured discussion were conducted with parents (n=16). Thematic analysis was used to synthesize the transcribed interviews.

Parents preferred the blogshot over the PLS and Wikipedia page (p=0.002) and found the blogshot to be most aesthetic (p=0.001), and easiest to use (p=0.001). Knowledge questions and usability survey data also indicated the blogshot was the most preferred and effective KT tool. Four key themes were derived from thematic analysis. Parents like KT tools that: 1) are simple, 2) are quick to access and use, 3) are trustworthy, and 4) inform how to manage the condition.

Out of the three KT tools assessed, blogshots were the most preferred by parents. It is important that child-health evidence be available in formats accessible and understandable by parents to improve decision making, use of healthcare resources, and health outcomes. Further usability testing should be conducted involving broader populations and other conditions in order to generate guidelines to improve parent directed KT tools.