Medical College of Wisconsin
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Randomized Controlled Trial of Acute Illness Educational Intervention in the Pediatric Emergency Department: Written Versus Application-Based Education. Pediatr Emerg Care 2020 Apr;36(4):e192-e198



Pubmed ID




Scopus ID

2-s2.0-85082432105   3 Citations


OBJECTIVES: The aim of this study was to determine the (1) feasibility, (2) demand, (3) acceptability, and (4) usefulness of a mobile health (mHealth) application (app) compared with a written intervention distributed in a pediatric emergency department (ED).

METHODS: This was a randomized controlled trial with parents of children 12 years or younger presenting to the ED for nonurgent complaints. Parents were randomized to receive a (1) low literacy pediatric health book with video, (2) pediatric mHealth app, (3) both 1 and 2, or (4) car-seat safety video and handout (control). Demand, acceptability, and usefulness were assessed at 1-, 3-, and 6-month follow-ups. Modified intention-to-treat analysis was completed for proportional data.

RESULTS: Ninety-eight parents completed randomization (83% approached). One or more follow-up was completed for 80.6% of parents. Only 57.1% downloaded the app. Parents used the app less than the book (35.1% vs 73.0%, P < 0.01), found the app to be harder to understand (26.0% vs 94.6%, P < 0.001) and less useful (37.8% vs 70.3%, P < 0.01), and were less likely to recommend the app to others (48.7% vs 100%, P < 0.01). No parent who received both book and app would prefer to have only the app; 88.9% of parents wanted either the book or both.

CONCLUSIONS: There was low demand for an mHealth app with parents who prefer, accept, and use the book more. Giving written health information to vulnerable populations in a pediatric ED has the capacity to empower parents with knowledge to care for a child and potentially decrease future nonurgent ED use with translation into a larger study.

Author List

Lepley BE, Brousseau DC, May MF, Morrison AK


David Brousseau MD Chief, Professor in the Pediatrics department at Medical College of Wisconsin
Andrea Morrison MD Associate Professor in the Pediatrics department at Medical College of Wisconsin

MESH terms used to index this publication - Major topics in bold

Acute Disease
Child, Preschool
Emergency Service, Hospital
Health Education
Hospitals, Pediatric
Mobile Applications
Patient Education as Topic
Pilot Projects
Surveys and Questionnaires