Background: Evidence regarding what comprises effective education for acne vulgaris patients is lacking. Internet-based education may improve patient knowledge of this condition. Objectives: Our objective was to compare the effectiveness of standard web-based education and an automated counseling website in improving acne knowledge. Design: In a randomized trial, participants visited either a standard website or an automated counseling website to learn about acne. Multiple-choice questions were administered at baseline and after 12 weeks to assess change in acne knowledge. Results: A total of 97 high school students were enrolled, and 95 completed the study. The standard website group had a significant increase in knowledge from baseline (3.61 ± 1.22) to 12-week follow-up (5.46 ± 1.31, p < 0.001). Similarly, the automated counseling website group had a significant increase in knowledge between both time points (3.53 ± 1.50 vs. 6.49 ± 1.06, p < 0.001). After 12 weeks, mean improvement in knowledge was higher in the automated counseling group (2.96 ± 1.85) than in the standard website group (1.85 ± 1.46, d = 0.67, p = 0.002). The number of website visits was positively correlated with improvement in knowledge in both groups. Finally, the automated counseling website group rated their educational material more useful (p = 0.004) and more enjoyable to view (p = 0.003) than did the standard website group. Limitations: This study is limited to adolescents with mild-to-moderate acne vulgaris. Conclusion: Internet-based patient education appears to be an effective method of improving acne knowledge among adolescents.
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