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Patient knowledge of asymptomatic bacteriuria is lacking


"We found that only about 8% of people in this national survey of over 500 participants had heard of asymptomatic bacteriuria," says Megan S. Bradley, MD.

In this video, Megan S. Bradley, MD, describes the background behind the recent Urogynecology paper “Online Search Strategies and Results From a Crowdsourced Survey on Asymptomatic Bacteriuria.” Bradley is an assistant professor, department of obstetrics, gynecology & reproductive sciences, division of urogynecology & reconstructive pelvic surgery and fellowship director of Female Pelvic Medicine & Reconstructive Surgery, University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC) Medical Education Program at UPMC, Pennsylvania.


Please describe the background for this study.

We had done some initial discussions with some of our patients on a focus group level about their understanding and awareness surrounding asymptomatic bacteriuria. And in those small group interviews, we had found that this was a new concept to people, they hadn't really heard of this before; [there was] a lot of reluctance surrounding not treating this condition because of concern for progression to worse symptoms. And so after we had done this small study in our environment, we wanted to potentially utilize crowdsourcing as a way of looking nationally at what people might know about this condition and also utilize people trying to research this on the internet to try and figure out what people are finding—is it good information? Bad information?—to hopefully eventually find ways to improve communication with patients.

What were some of the notable findings? Were any of them surprising to you and your coauthors?

I think it confirmed some things, and other things were surprising. The study was structured via a survey that went out to people via a platform of people who do crowd work, which is essentially belonging to these websites where they can look for studies that go out nationally, and people can complete them as they wish. The first section was just yes/no questions about, have you heard of this before? What are your main concerns? If someone told you didn't need antibiotics, would that still concern you? And we found that only about 8% of people in this national survey of over 500 participants had heard of asymptomatic bacteriuria. I think we thought that not many people would have heard of it. But I don't know if we knew that it'd be that low—only about 8%. And then in the second section of the survey, we had people try to go on the internet and search how they would try to find this information if they heard of it and see what they found. We were surprised a little bit by some of the information we found at this section. A lot of the studies that people found on the internet were very geared toward providers, written at very high levels, whether they were journal articles. And then a lot of the things that they did find that were maybe more like what we call patient facing, if you will, had a lot of misinformation and were kind of graded poor. The provider documents, things written on a scientific journal type environment, were good and there was high-quality literature there, but the stuff that was geared toward people of a lower reading level—patient-facing type of information—a lot of it had misinformation.

This transcription was edited for clarity.

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