Past Project: Learning Styles for Oncology Patients

Using Health Literacy and Learning Styles to Guide Oncology Patients through the Pharmacogenetic Maze of Personalized Medicine

Evidence regarding the effect of genetic variations on health is evolving at a rate that outpaces Melanoma and BRAFtraditional educational and decision support approaches to knowledge dissemination. The goal of this project, funded by the Institute of Museum and Library Services, was to develop a reusable model for delivering patient-specific, consumer-friendly pharmacogenetics information. In collaboration with Vanderbilt’s My Cancer Genome team, we evaluated the use of health literacy and learning style principles to educate cancer patients and caregivers about precision medicine.

We adapted professional-level information about tumor mutations from the My Cancer Genome website into a lay-level format. We also created short videos, called knowledge pearls, to help explain the meaning of complex genetic and cancer precision medicine terms. We demonstrated through two randomized controlled trials that incorporating health literacy and learning style principles when developing consumer information about precision medicine facilitates understanding of the material and results in greater satisfaction (Giuse et al., 2016; Kusnoor et al., 2016).

The patient-specific content is freely available via the MCG website, and the knowledge pearls are available for public use and educational purposes.

Specific aims:

  • Define criteria and guidelines for developing consumer-friendly educational material about pharmacogenetic principles.
  • Create consumer-friendly pharmacogenetic information based on defined guidelines, learning style characteristics, and written at a 6th grade reading level.
  • Detail an iterative multi-level process for content refinement and evaluation.