May 17, 2021, Durham, NC – Youth participation in clinical trials is a vital step to ensuring the safety of pediatric medical treatments. For example, clinical trials across the country are currently evaluating children’s and teens’ response to potential Covid-19 vaccines. However, youth may be understandably anxious about taking part in a process they don’t fully understand.

Researchers at innovation Research & Training created an innovative method for educating children about what it means to be in a clinical trial: a new multimedia, interactive website called DigiKnowIt News. As reported in a new paper in Journal of Child Health Care, by explaining the procedures, risks, benefits, and management of clinical trials, DigiKnowIt News helped children to make an informed decision about their own participation.

“Clinical trials can provide a lot of benefit to both the participant and society at large,” said Dr. Alison Parker, the lead author of the paper. “But agreeing to be part of a clinical trial might seem daunting if you don’t have enough information to make an informed decision. This can be true for adults and children. That’s why the findings from this study are so encouraging.”

In the paper, “DigiKnowIt News: Educating youth about pediatric clinical trials using an interactive, multimedia educational website,” researchers Parker, Scull, and Morrison found that the website accomplished its goal to educate children. After using DigiKnowIt News, youth demonstrated a significantly higher level of knowledge about clinical trials. When gathering and learning information about clinical trials, the more knowledge children have, the more informed their decisions can be. Furthermore, youth who used the website showed increased confidence in their own ability to participate in a clinical trial. When taken together, these findings make a strong argument for the beneficial influence of DigiKnowIt News.

To read the full study:

This project has been funded in whole or in part with Federal funds from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, National Institutes of Health, Department 
of Health and Human Services, under Contract No. HHSN268201700010C