Friday, January 11, 2019
The Digital Divide Strikes Again And The ADHA Continues To Be In Pathetic Denial.
This popped up last week:
1 January 2019 — 5:15pm
Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt will write to pharmacists and doctors to remind them of their responsibilities, after consumer advocates raised concerns that patients were not being given vital information about medicine interactions and side effects.
The Consumers Health Forum of Australia called on Mr Hunt to step in after receiving complaints that patients were not always being given consumer medicine information documents (CMIs), which pharmaceutical companies are required by law to make available.
In the past CMIs were provided as a leaflet inside prescription medicine boxes but most products now direct patients to read the information online, leaving it to doctors or pharmacists to print off the documents for patients starting new medications.
But consumer advocates say this makes the information inaccessible to many, particularly if busy GPs and pharmacists fail to provide the documents – which experts say are far too difficult to read and understand.
Leanne Wells, chief executive of the CHFA, said that CMIs should "ideally" be placed inside prescription medicine packets and that directing patients to a website was "not of any use to those consumers, particularly older patients who may not use the internet".
"It should be standard practice for pharmacies to give printed CMIs when dispensing prescription medicine," Ms Wells said.
"Both doctors and pharmacists should ensure patients receive simple, clear and accurate advice, preferably on paper."
One patient who spoke to the Sydney Morning Herald and The Age reported unforewarned side effects from a common prostate medicine that caused him severe constipation, interfering with a medical procedure.
The man complained that he was not told of the side effect by either his doctor or pharmacist, or that the medicine could be harmful to patients with liver damage.
The CHFA has previously called for warning labels to be mandated on the package of asthma medicine Singulair, after dozens of families reported side effects including suicidal thoughts in children who had taken the drug.
Sydney University pharmacy professor Parisa Aslani, who specialises in medicine use optimisation, said patients must be given information they could understand, whether inside the box, printed out or online.
"My biggest push is can we make this document user friendly and understandable, that people want to access," Professor Aslani said, citing Australian Bureau of Statistics data showing that 60 per cent of Australians had poor to low health literacy.
"There's no point trying to force health professionals to give out the current document – it's not going to be understood."
She said many CMIs, which could run into seven pages, were too long and complicated, making patients unlikely to read them even if they were provided in paper form.
Communication Research Institute chief executive David Sless agreed, saying the documents did not "invite reading".
Professor Sless, who worked on the design of CMIs in the 1990s, said Australia had once led the world in medicine communications but had "gone to the back of the class", with the documents "designed for something that is basically one up from a typewriter".
"It's a bit of a national disgrace," he said.
The full article is here:
Yet again, as with the myHR, there is an apparent assumption that everyone can access and use the internet to obtain information. This is simply not true as anyone who gives the matter a moment’s thought will recognize.
We need to communicate sensible amounts of medicine information that is useful and understandable to everyone. It really is as simple as that. Sometimes you really just want to scream!
Posted by Dr David G More MB PhD at Friday, January 11, 2019