The last week has been mildly stressful and confusing to say the least – there seems to have been a contagious feeling going round the class, where a lot of us (myself definitely included) have been in the state of mind where we think we’re not doing enough, it’s not going anywhere and it’s fairly scary that it’s doing this.
Not so nice.
After a (fairly long – 11 minutes Betsy!) peachy keachy session and good discussions with tutors – I managed to nail down 3 – I feel I’m actually beginning to get on-track. Hooray for that.
I’ve spent the last week going round and round in circles, seemingly trying to latch on to bits and pieces of the project that now don’t quite fit. I looked into creating a whole new database essentially for patients and parents to access medical advice, allowing them to self-diagnose, giving them a little bit more of a sense of responsibility. After talking to David at Strathclyde I mapped out the differences between the symptoms-consultation-diagnosis-treatment plan-treatment-everyday life of a child with a.Asthma and b.Diabetes to try to understand why it s that some conditions and treatments are more-compliant or less-compliant than others. visibility is key for the child to understand and ultimately take control of their condition, especially when they are taking preventative medication such as inhalers, or that for Epilepsy, as they have no ’cause and effect’ to work from.
My local GP, Dr Eardley, who very kindly agreed to speak to me on Tuesday morning, and gave me a lot more time than I was bargaining for. I wanted to seek the advice of a medical profession to make sure I was on the right track in my interest in the patient-parent-physician communication, relationship and trust. It turns out communication of key facts, in fact, all necessary information need to be addressed. Around 10% of all information given to a patient/parent in a consultation about th treatment plan and its delivery is absorbed by the patient. They forget, ignore or cannot understand 90% due to medical jargon being used, their level of health literacy not being addressed, or more commonly, the shear stress of having an ill child, and having this confirmed in medical terms means that the anxiety, worry and fear simply takes over them, the barriers come down and no information can be taken in.
Now, patents (I’m finding myself calling the parents ‘patients’, is this right? are they, in a way?) patients, are more likely to comply with their prescribed treatment plan, be it through medication, excercise, change in diet or therapy, if they understand the prescription and its implications, trust the physician-patient relationship to come to a good decision, and if they have an element of control in the process – e.g. have done some of the research themselves.
I believe that more needs to be done to aid the patient into this feeling; encouraging them to do their own research, to understand their own bodies before the trip to the doctors/hospital, to seek out other peoples experience and share/learn from them. Use design as a tool for behavioural change in the patient-physicain relationship (why is it sometimes no longer accepted that the healthcare professional knows best?) And to allow the patient to pick up the 90% ‘lost’ knowledge once leaving the surgery, in their own time, at a level they understand (adult or child) through a medium that can be absorbed quickly and easily. My ideas of packaging are coming back … can this be used as a further communication tool by the doctor? – can their presence, their authority and responsibility play a part, as a guiding ‘mentor’ for the parent…
A phrase Ian gave me yesterday was Communication Information Support System – which is essentially what I’m talking about. I’ll work on giving it a snappier, digestible title in the mean time…
honesty (real world).
now, to get to work!