Video Intervention/Prevention Assessment (VIA) was developed to determine whether medical information gathering might be augmented by video diaries created by patients to show clinicians the realities of managing chronic disease in the contexts of their lives.


Children and adolescents who met National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute criteria for moderate or severe asthma were enrolled from an urban pediatric hospital and an inner-city health center. Comprehensive, asthma-specific medical histories were obtained from study participants in standard clinical interviews. Participants were trained to use video camcorders and recorded visual narratives of how they lived with and managed their asthma over a 4- to 8-week period. These visual narratives were screened by a trained observer, who completed the initial comprehensive medical history based solely on viewing the video. Information from participants' medical history interviews was compared with observations of their visual narratives.


Twenty young people 8 to 25 years old completed the VIA Asthma study. Important variations were found between participants' medical history interviews and their visual narratives. All 20 participants reported specific environmental triggers for their asthma; 19 had 1 or more of these triggers documented on video in their daily living environments (video illustrations online, available at:www.pediatrics.org). Exposures to known triggers ranged from 25% (noxious fumes) to 91% (mold). Exposure to tobacco smoke that was denied in the interview was revealed on video in 63%. The 18 participants who revealed medication use in their visual narratives were assessed for adherence: 33% exceeded prescribed doses, 28% discontinued medications without consulting a clinician, and 72% used ineffective inhaler technique.


VIA visual narratives extended a comprehensive, standard of care medical history, yielding a more complete and accurate understanding of exacerbating environmental exposures and inappropriate medication usage of children and adolescents with asthma. VIA is an effective tool for revealing the physical and psychosocial environments in which young people live with disease. Patient-created video can enrich our understanding of the illness experiences of children and adolescents. VIA has the potential to enhance clinical data gathering, guide the development of more effective and sensitive management strategies, and educate clinicians about the realities of the young person living with illness.

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