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Medical online platforms as cognitive interfaces: The impact of individual and technological features on learning and processing of complex medical information

WorkgroupKnowledge Construction Lab
FundingLeibniz-WissenschaftsCampus “Cognitive Interfaces”
Project description

Patients and medically interested laypeople use online platforms to acquire knowledge about diseases and medical treatments. These online sources offer a broad range of information that differs in quality and comprehensiveness. A presentation format that is particularly suitable for representing the complexity of medical content are educational videos about medical interventions.

As part of the Leibniz-WissenschaftsCampus the project “Medical online platforms as cognitive interfaces” aimed to investigate how the content of a medical online platform can be used by laypeople to process complex medical information and to make informed decisions about possible treatments. We used video clips from the medical online platform Sectio Chirurgica as study material. These videos taught clinical knowledge and anatomical skills by showing surgeries on body donors. We investigated how individual differences between the users as well as the design of the platform affected the way medical laypeople process the presented information. The study program took into account the impact of individual factors like prior knowledge, personal relevance of the information, perceived thread, or prior opinion toward the medical intervention, as well as technological aspects like navigational options on the online platform, the availability of background information, and the opportunity to interact with other users. These factors were varied systematically in the studies to investigate the effects on learning, interest in further information, and the attitude toward the shown intervention. In addition, we obtained people‘s satisfaction with the learning process and their assessment of the usability of the platform.
With this research project, we aimed to evaluate the potential and the barriers of medical videos for imparting complex health-related information. Such videos can be used to educate patients or relatives, to alleviate patients’ fears of an intervention, or to help them coming to an autonomous decision in favor or against an intervention.


Prof. Dr. med. Bernhard Hirt, Institute for clinical anatomy and cell analysis, University of Tübingen


Korger, S., Eggeling, M., Cress, U., Kimmerle, J., & Bientzle, M. (2021). Decision aids to prepare patients for shared decision making: Two randomized controlled experiments on the impact of awareness of preference-sensitivity and personal motives. Health Expectations, 24(2), 257-268. [Data] Open Access

Eggeling, M., Bientzle, M., Cress, U., Shiozawa, T., & Kimmerle, J. (2020). The impact of physicians’ recommendations on treatment preference and attitudes: a randomized controlled experiment on shared decision-making. Psychology, Health & Medicine, 25(3), 259-269.

Eggeling, M., Bientzle, M., Shiozawa, T., Cress, U., & Kimmerle, J. (2018). The impact of visualization format and navigational options on laypeople’s perception and preference of surgery information videos: Randomized controlled trial and online survey. Journal of Participatory Medicine, 10, e12338. Open Access