“Only 10% of information given to a patient/parent by a physician during a consultation is retained.”
How can I work to gain the other 90% back? To bring the parents up to their full 100% of essential knowledge?
I’m still looking into the idea of ‘take-away’ information. Parents and children need to be able to take in the information in their own tine, digest it, re-read it, work through it without the stress and time-limits of a consultation. They need to be able to gain the level of knowledge that allows them to perform the administration of the medication effectively.
Think of it this way: during the consultation the parent can, and often does, rely on the healthcare professional to guide them through the treatment plan. Nodding along and often agreeing to things they don’t fully understand, because they feel they should – placing the responsibility in the hands of the doctor, because they have all the answers.
At the Pharmacy, handing over your prescription and waiting for it to be filled out (-is there an opportunity here to re-learn?-) the Parent is prompted by the Pharmacist to ask questions about the medication, and are told about its routine, do’s and don’t’s. Here, the Pharmacist holds the responsible role.
Once at home, the parent is in charge of administering the child’s medication properly – assuming all they have taken in from their Gp/pharmacists is 10% of the knowledge they need, all they now have to go on is the information provided with the medication – small, difficult, jargon-filled and not user-friendly. There is no ‘higher power’, no more informed person to take ont he role of responsiblity. Them must do it themselves (it is easy to imagine where the mistakes happen.) Why are they not getting more help at this stage?
In terms of Take Away information – I’m thinking of it in the form of a book. I made a mock-up. It talks the parent and child through Chicken Pox; what it is (medically), it’s timeline (graphics-orientated), the basic facts,how it is spread, what happens when you have chicken pox, hints and tips to make the recovery period easier (food types, non-prescribed medication, short fingernails, clothing types), what to do if you are pregnant or have other children, a page to fill in, tear out and give to your nursery nurse/school nurse to add to your health profile and inform them that you are now immune. The last page, the back cover has space for your GP to write notes and give you keywords to do a little extra research if you feel you want to. (the book does give you all the essentials though.) It’s designed to help dispel the negative, scare stories exemplified by the media regarding certain medical procedures, by encouraging parents to pass on the books to family and friends, positive, factual gossip. You can’t beat word of mouth!
I’m looking at introducing elements such as healthy eating and health characters – I’ve found that children respond well to comic-book style characters, seeing them as examples of healthy living, strength etc – they messages that these characters put across are generally very well-regarded by parents and children alike. This is Lazy Town’s Sportacus and The MediKidz:
I’ve also been exploring the world of online health treatment, in a way that patients can view their prescriptions, check the doses they are supposed to be taking, how to take them – watch videos, hear the stories of other people who are/have taken them. Compare note son new procedures, medications, techniques. View glossary banks of medical terms (incase you should get lost). Update your ‘profile’ – diet, exercise, height, weight, smoker, alcohol, to build up a real-life picture of yourself.
Track yourself – update your diet and excercise diary – reach targets, gain rewards? Input interactive calorie count, receive messages about it.
Follow trusted links to further research, be able to send your findings on to your GP, ‘I’m thinking about …’ and receive replies, perhaps be encouraged to book an appointment (online) for a chat, discus what this change would mean.
View your medical records, as a timeline, a series of folders (vaccinations, pills, ointments, therapy, diet change, exercise regime) depending on how you remember. Chart you progress, print it and put it on your fridge, send it to your GP, take it with you to your next appointment.
This service exists, in essence, as the NHS HealthSpace – available in England, or if like me, you just put in a favourite English postcode. It’s at a basic stage, it relies on you putting in all of your medical information correctly, giving you hundreds of options of drug names to choose from. it doesn’t recognise the medication if you spell the name even slightly incorrectly. Nor does it understand if you put your daily cigarette or alcohol intake as ‘0’. It’s basic programming, but there is so much scope for it to be helpfully interactive.
So that’s what I am currently working on.