October 6, 2022

Audio recordings could benefit older adults following clinic visits

Vanderbilt researchers are studying the impact of sharing audio recordings of their visits with older adults who have diabetes.


by Craig Boerner

Vanderbilt University Medical Center is joining a Dartmouth-led research group, including investigators from the University of Texas Medical Branch (UTMB), to compare the impact of sharing audio recordings of their visits with older adults who have diabetes.

Previous studies have shown that up to 80% of clinic visit information is forgotten by patients immediately after seeing their health care provider.

The $3.5 million grant from the National Institute on Aging will allow trial investigators to compare patients who received an audio recording following their visit with those who did not, examining factors such as medication adherence, diabetes quality of life indicators, health care utilization and clinician practice behavior.

“Providers are often challenged to exchange a high volume of key medical information with patients and caregivers within the limited time of a traditional office or telehealth visit,” said co-principal investigator Kerri Cavanaugh, MD, MHS, associate professor and director of the Vanderbilt Center for Effective Health Communication.

“Patients who are partners on our research team suggest that recording the visit conversation will give them a new way to go over the information in the comfort of their home and at their own pace. This trial will directly test this idea, and its impact on patient engagement and activation, to use visit information effectively in their day-to-day lives,” Cavanaugh said.

Traditional after-visit summaries can improve recall, but concerns exist about their readability, accuracy and low patient usage, said co-principal investigator Paul Barr, PhD, an associate professor at The Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy & Clinical Practice and Center for Technology & Behavioral Health (CTBH) at the Geisel School of Medicine.

“Studies have shown that when patients receive an audio recording of a visit, 71% listen and 68% share it with a caregiver, resulting in greater recall,” Barr said.

“However, despite growing interest, there is limited research on the impact of recording and sharing clinic visits on patient self-management ability, health outcomes or health care utilization of older adults,” he said.

Researchers will conduct the REPLAY Trial in primary care at three sites during the five-year study — Dartmouth Health, VUMC and UTMB, which is led by co-principal investigator Meredith Masel, PhD, MSW, assistant professor and director of the Oliver Center for Patient Safety & Quality Healthcare.

Patients will be randomized to receive visit audio recordings in addition to usual care versus usual care alone for all scheduled visits over one year, with assessments being done at baseline, one week, six months and 12 months.

Researchers will also study whether the effect of audio recordings on self-management is greater for individuals at highest risk of poor self-management, including those with less caregiver support, moderate-to-severe depression, lower health literacy and high disease burden.