Hi there,

Since I last blogged (I really need to get better at updating) I’ve been working a bit on strengthening the ideas that came out from my tutor sessions on Wednesday. They centre around the ideas that Dr Eardley brought to the fore in our meeting last week – about self-reliance, and empowering the patient/parent to take a little bit more control in their understanding  of the condition at hand, by allowing, in fact encouraging them to look up further info in their own time.

This all stems from the fact that only around 10% of information passed from a physician to the patient during the consultation is retained – how can we work to bring back the other 90%?

During the consultation is no good, patients either are lost in (unintentional) medical jargon, distracted by other children present, unwilling to listen to the doctors views (denial), or simply too anxious, worried, stressed to take in the information they know they need.

Patients need to be able to absorb this knowledge in a place, at a time that suits them – at home, where they can re-read/listen/watch – whatever medium it ends up being, where they can ask for extra help should they need it, and be able to interact with other parents who have been in their shoes.

So, I’m thinking along my ideas of ‘take away information’ – the doctor issues the prescription with some sort of pack ( especially for acute illnesses, I’m not yet sure how this will fit with more chronic illnesses.) whereby the parent can do their own further research with the Keywords provided – find their own sources, make their own judgements, make their own comparisons – there has to be a level of trust here, spoon-feeding will not help either party.

The pack/book itself will provide all of the other knowledge needed, filling in the other 90% essentially. Answering less-asked questions such as what is the correct dosage, how to administer, what times of the day are best, what do I do if my child is in day-time nursery, what else can I do to help their recovery? Instead of the standard; 2 in the morning, 2 in the evening. By allowing people more access to their health knowledge, they can begin to understand the condition at hand, and start to take greater control of their medication.

I’m thinking these ideas will materialise in the form of a series of short books, almost like short stories, childrens’ books. Giving the reader all the essential factual information they need, whilst finding a way to link it into their daily lives. They should include space for the physician to include their 3 keywords to aid further research – should they choose to do it.

It may also involve some sort of tear-out-and-keep sheet for the parent to give to the nursery nurse, if their child is at day-time playgroup (I need to do a bit of research as to what conditions these might be, when you still are on a prescription, but well enough to go to nursery…I’ll ask James tomorrow.) Allowing the nursery to build a profile of each child,  incase they have recurring illnesses (tendency to ear infections, for example.)

I’m thinking about these ‘books’ being intended to be passed on, to friends, younger family members – sharing the knowledge outside of the practice. I believe this will appeal to the thinkings nowadays that one opinion is never enough – and that be being passed a reliable (possibly branded?) source from a trusted family member or friend can only strengthen peoples belief in it.

So, physical books? With a storytelling, children’s section – kind of like a comic strip, to help understand the how did I get ill? why do I need to take my medication? how long should I take it? Can I still play outside? questions.

Downloadable video, or soundbite? Video is always good as it gives you another dimension, something real to base your decisions on, and seeing other people in your situation is beneficial – people behave by observing others’ behaviours. Does it even need to be downloadable, could you just watch it online? The basic info is there, but it could be so much more effective if it gave the user a little bit more. More interactive, answering the questions they need answered.

E-Book – Nintendo DS

Even interactive packaging – soundbites in the packaging, giving instructions. USB with the instructions, video etc loaded onto it. Gp action man-style figures, pull string for information, replace with each new illness.

Essentially, the information leaflets and instruction sheets that currently come with medications need to be assessed, and probably altered. How much info is ‘essential’? what really needs to be said? what is picked up on? can I move it away from purely words? I’ve been looking at childrens book, things like ‘my first trip to the doctors’, ‘who looks after us in the Hospital?’, Osborne (with the yellow duck) wins top prize for complelling story, current medical accuracy, believable illustrations, detail to family life and generaly better than all the others I sifted through on the (very comfy) Mitchell Library carpet this morning.

Again, it’s more questions than answers at this point. I’m off to meet James Wallace – Lead Directorate Pharmacist for women and children’s Directorate at Yorkhill Hospital on Wednesday morning, so shall run my thinkings past him. get myself on track.

It’s looking exciting, I’m a little bit like a kid in the sweetshop, so many options! I’ve had a couple of bad days, it’s good to fell like the project is going places, it deserves some priority now.



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