Development and evaluation of a brief educational cartoon on trainee clinicians' awareness of risks of ionising-radiation exposure: a feasibility pre-post intervention study of a novel educational tool to promote patient safety
Background: Over recent decades, CT scans have become routinely available and are used in both acute medical and outpatient environments. However, there is a small increase in the risk of adverse consequences, including an increase in the risk of both malignancy and cataracts. Clinicians are often unaware of these facts, and this represents a challenge for medical educators in England, where almost 5 million CT scans are done annually. New whiteboard methodologies permit development of innovative educational tools that are efficient and scalable in communicating simple educational messages that promote patient safety. Methods: A short educational whiteboard cartoon was developed to explore the prior observation that adolescents under the care of paediatricians had a much lower risk of receiving a CT scan than those under the care of clinicians who care for adults. This explored the risks after receiving a CT scan and strategies that can be used to avoid them. The educational cartoon was piloted on new doctors who were attending induction training at a busy teaching hospital. Results: The main output was the educational whiteboard cartoon itself. Before the new medical trainees' induction, 56% (25/45) had received no formal training in radiation awareness, and this decreased to 26% (6/23) after the exposure to the educational cartoon (p=0.02). At baseline, 60% (27/45) of respondents considered that young females were at highest risk from exposure to ionising radiation, and this increased to 87% (20/23) after exposure to the educational cartoon (p=0.06). Conclusions: This proof-of-concept feasibility study demonstrates that whiteboard cartoons provide a novel and feasible approach to efficiently promote patient safety issues, where a short succinct message is often appropriate.
- Imaging