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Former UF fellow wins research award from national emergency medicine organization

Published: April 23, 2014 By: Jesef Williams
Shareen Ismail, MD, center, won the Best Resident Paper award from the American College of Emergency Physicians. She was a UF fellow from 2010 to 2013. Mark McIntosh, MD, left, and Colleen Kalynych, EdD, right, were Ismail Shareen Ismail, MD, center, won the Best Resident Paper award from the American College of Emergency Physicians. She was a UF fellow from 2010 to 2013. Mark McIntosh, MD, left, and Colleen Kalynych, EdD, right, were Ismail's primary mentors during the research project.

Impact of Ismail’s study still felt today at UF Health Jacksonville

Sometimes it’s much easier to grasp information when it’s presented in video form. Shareen Ismail, MD, put that belief to the test, and was rewarded in a big way for her efforts.

Ismail, a former pediatric emergency medicine fellow at University of Florida College of Medicine – Jacksonville, won the Best Resident Paper award late last year from the American College of Emergency Physicians. It was for a research project she led at UF titled “Impact of Video Discharge Instructions from the Emergency Department in Regard to Caregiver Understanding of Their Child’s Fever and Closed Head Injury.”

When parents bring their children to the pediatric emergency department, they often misunderstand the diagnosis and discharge instructions, which Ismail said leads to unnecessary return visits. She wanted to produce a video with the same instructions caregivers are given verbally to see if that would improve their comprehension.

“What we were explaining to our patients was going in one ear and out the other,” Ismail said about conventional discharge instructions, which are given in paper form and briefly explained by a hospital staff member.

The study involved caregivers of children who were brought to UF Health Jacksonville’s Pediatric Emergency Center due to complaints of fever or head injury. The caregivers were randomly placed into a control group or intervention group, but weren’t told about the nature of the study. That was done so they wouldn’t pay greater attention to the discharge instructions.

All participants received regular discharge instructions. The intervention group also viewed the discharge instruction video. The caregivers later took a test to gauge their comprehension.

Caregivers in the intervention group had an average test score of 88.8, while the control group posted a 75.7 average – a difference the researchers consider significant. 

“The videos are engaging and entertaining,” Ismail said. “The parents seem to retain and process information more effectively with visual cues than with writing.”

Caregivers in the intervention group with less than a high school education had average test scores (89.4 percent) similar to those in that group with more than a high school education (88.8 percent). But among the control-group participants, caregivers with less than a high school education had significantly lower test scores (66.6 percent average) than those with more education (77.7 percent).

“Video delivery of educational material may be a highly effective mechanism to improve parental knowledge, especially in underserved communities where educational levels may be lower,” Ismail wrote in the study’s conclusion.

A desire to help patients

Colleen Kalynych, EdD, and Mark McIntosh, MD, were Ismail’s primary mentors for the project and also served as the on-camera talent in the two videos. Kalynych is the emergency medicine research director and McIntosh is an associate professor of emergency medicine at UF College of Medicine – Jacksonville.

They laud Ismail’s tenacity in designing the study, writing the video scripts, analyzing the data and writing the abstract and manuscript. She also contracted with a local video production company, which reduced its fees and provided in-kind work for the project.

“We were thrilled to learn that this project won the national award. Dr. Ismail put a lot of man-hours into establishing connections to make these videos with virtually no money,” McIntosh said.

“She had a vision on how to address the problem of poor communication with families at discharge in the ED and was able to come up with a solution despite many obstacles,” Kalynych said. “Her commitment as a physician and implementation of the project is a real testament to her desire to serve patients in any way possible.”

Ismail was a UF fellow from 2010 to 2013. Today she works as a full-time attending physician at Wolfson Children’s Hospital in Jacksonville. She said she would love to see Wolfson incorporate similar ED discharge videos, which are now routinely shown at UF Health Jacksonville to caregivers of children experiencing fever or head injury.

Ismail will receive the Best Resident Paper award in October during ACEP’s Scientific Assembly in Chicago. She said it’s a great honor to be recognized for something she loves to do.

“Pediatrics is near and dear to my heart,” she said. “My fellowship at UF prepared me tremendously for the children I help take care of today.”

Shareen Ismail, MD, center, won the Best Resident Paper award from the American College of Emergency Physicians. She was a UF fellow from 2010 to 2013. Mark McIntosh, MD, left, and Colleen Kalynych, EdD, right, were Ismail's primary mentors during the research project.

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