A child and an adult stands on a big heart

Sisom Heart

Supporting Patient Communication and Symptom Management for Children with Congenital Heart Disease

Project period

2005 - 2011


Norwegian Research Council 


This study investigated the effects of an interactive communication tool for children with heart disease, called Sisom, on patient-provider communication in pediatric cardiology out-patient consultations.

Fourty-two children aged 7–13 diagnosed with heart disease used Sisom in preparation for their consultation. The resulting summaries of the children’s perceived problems were shared with their nurses and physicians for use during the consultation. A control group, matched on gender and age (n = 42), received usual care. All consultations were video-taped and analyzed with the Roter Interaction Analysis System. Compared to the control group, almost twice as many symptoms and problems were addressed when Sisom was used (10.7 vs. 5.9; P < 0.001), without increasing consultation time. Physicians provided significantly more information (4.9 vs. 3.5; P < 0.01); nurses asked more follow-up questions (4.0 vs. 2.2; P < 0.05); parents and health care providers directed their conversation more often towards the child (6.7 vs.2.1; P < 0.001); and children participated more often with information (25.2 vs. 15.6; P < 0.05) and in discussions about medical topics (8.0 vs. 4.3; P < 0.05). While the small sample size necessitates cautious interpretation, study results suggest that Sisom can effectively improve patient-centred communication for children with heart disease in regular pediatric practice.