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Evaluation of an Online Educational Program for Parents and Caregivers of Children With Food Allergies

Ruiz-Baqués A1, Contreras-Porta J2, Marques-Mejías M2, Cárdenas Rebollo JM3, Capel Torres F4, Ariño Pla MN5, Zorrozua Santisteban A6, Chivato T7

1Mejo Digital Health, Barcelona, Spain
2Department of Allergy, Hospital La Paz Institute for Health Research (IdiPAZ), Madrid, Spain
3Department of Applied Mathematics and Statistics, CEU San Pablo University, Madrid, Spain
4AEPNAA, Asociación Española de Personas con Alergia a Alimentos y Látex, Madrid, Spain
5Immunitas Vera, Asociación Catalana de Alergia Alimentarias, Tarragona, Spain
6Elikalte, Asociación Vasca de Alergias alimentarias, Bilbao, Spain
7Decanato, Facultad de Medicina, Facultad de Medicina, Universidad CEU San Pablo, Grupo Hospitales HM, Spain

J Investig Allergol Clin Immunol 2018; Vol 28(1) : 37-41
doi: 10.18176/jiaci.0214

Background: The increasing prevalence of food allergy affects both patients and their families.
Objective: The aim of this study was to evaluate the impact of an online educational program designed for parents and caregivers of children with food allergies. The program was developed by a multidisciplinary group comprising health care professionals, researchers, and expert patients under the participatory medicine model.
Material and Methods: Participants took a 2-week online educational program covering major topics in food allergy management. General knowledge about the disease, symptoms, treatment, and topics relevant to families’ daily lives were evaluated. The contents included educational videos, online forums, and live video chats. A pretest/posttest questionnaire survey was used to evaluate the impact of the program.
Results: A total of 207 participants enrolled in the educational program, which was completed by 130 (62.8%). Knowledge acquisition improved significantly following participation in the program in 15 out of 30 items (50%), reaching P<.001 for 8 items (26.7%). Of the 207 participants who started the program, 139 (67.1%) visited online forums, and 27.5% attended video chats. Average overall satisfaction with the educational program was 8.78 (on a scale of 0 to 10).
Conclusions: The results obtained show that parents improved their knowledge in all areas of food allergy. The high level of satisfaction among participants suggests that digital learning tools are effective and motivational, enabling patients to acquire appropriate knowledge and thus increasing their quality of life.

Key words: Patient education, eHealth, Patient engagement, Empowerment, Digital health, Food allergy, Anaphylaxis, e-patient, Health education, eLearning