Using evidence-based infographics to increase parents’ understanding about antibiotic use and antibiotic resistance: a proof-of-concept study
Oliver Van Hecke, Joseph J Lee, Chris C Butler, Michael Moore, Sarah Tonkin-Crine
Background: Communities need to see antibiotic stewardship campaigns as relevant to enhance understanding of antibiotic use and influence health-seeking behaviour. Yet, campaigns have often not sought input from the public in their development. Objectives: To co-produce evidenced-based infographics (EBIs) about antibiotics for common childhood infections and to evaluate their effectiveness at increasing parents’ understanding of antibiotic use. Methods: A mixed-methods study with three phases. Phase 1 identified and summarized evidence of antibiotic use for three childhood infections (sore throat, acute cough and otitis media). In phase 2, we co-designed a series of prototype EBIs with parents and a graphic design team (focus groups). Thematic analysis was used to analyse data. Phase 3 assessed the effect of EBIs on parents’ understanding of antibiotic use for the three infections using a national online survey in the UK. Results: We iteratively co-produced 10 prototype EBIs. Parents found the evidence displayed in the EBIs novel and relevant to their families. Parents did not favour EBIs that were too medically focused. Parents preferred one health message per EBI. We included eight EBIs in a national survey of parents (n = 998). EBIs improved knowledge by more than a third across the board (34%, IQR 20%–46%, P < 0.001). Respondents confirmed that EBIs were novel and potentially useful, corroborating our focus groups findings. Conclusions: Co-designed EBIs have the potential to succinctly change parents’ perceptions about antibiotics for acute respiratory tract infections in children. Further research should test EBIs in real-world settings to assess their reach as a potential public-facing intervention.