Randomised controlled trials (RCTs) that compared effectiveness of an ICBE program with another form of patient education were eligible for inclusion in the review. Eligible studies had to use knowledge retention or gains as one of the outcome measures.
Primary outcomes were: positive impact on education; clinical and economic benefits; and factors that contributed to inconsistent outcomes.
An ICBE program was defined as a computer-based program that employed video, still pictures and audio presentations that interacts with the user through program manipulation, question, levels of control over program sequence or level of detail. Programs could be resident on a personal computer or accessed through the Internet. The learning environment was predominantly within doctors' offices or clinics. The program was viewed on single or multiple occasions. Features of the programs were varied. Most ICBE interventions incorporated multimedia features that included video and animation, included voice-over to reinforce script messages and included a self-check or quiz at the end of key sections or program end with detailed answers. Control educations included printed material, consultation, lecture and no intervention.
The author did not state how many reviewers selected studies for inclusion in the review.