Visual information about medicines for patients: designing for Don Quixote? / Vizualne informacije o zdravilih za bolnike: oblikovanje za Don Kihota?

author: Karel van der Waarde, Avans University of Applied Sciences
published: April 30, 2010,   recorded: April 2010,   views: 4756
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Description

English:
Situation: Information about medicines
It is very hard to handle medicines properly without visual information. Leaflets, packaging, websites and pharmacist-labels provide patients with a plethora of texts and images that aim to inform about dosage, correct way of taking, side effects, warnings and storage. Unfortunately, this visual information does not seem to result in ‘effective instructions and warnings’ and frequently leads to confusion and anxiety. Medical errors, persistently increasing costs of medicines, and ineffective use are seen as unavoidable and part of this system.

Issue: Four questionable assumptions
The main practical task is to convince patients to take medicines appropriately and effectively. This is problematic. The reason might be that some of the assumptions that underlie the legal framework for the development of visual information for patients are incorrect. The first assumption is that patients are helped by standardization and by strictly prescribing the information that is required. The second assumption is that patients are not the main influential factor when information about medicines is considered. The third assumption is that ‘medicines’ and ‘information’ must be regulated by governmental authorities in the same manner. The fourth assumption underestimates the ability of patients to recognize and interpret information about medicines. These four assumptions lead to a view that it is only necessary to ‘protect patients’ against ‘incorrect and incomplete’ information. The result is a profusion of guidelines and regulations about visual information.

Consequences: we are solving the wrong problems
The current development process of information about medicines diverts from the tried and tested processes of developing appropriate arguments that could convince patients. There are discrepancies in the selection of the contents, the structure of the argument, and the style in which the argument is presented. The result is that the interpretation of visual information about medicines is unnecessarily difficult.

Approach: Developing alternative prototypes
An analysis shows that the four assumptions about ‘effective communication’ related to information about medicines are malignant. These assumptions hamper the development of appropriate visual arguments that might support patients to handle medicines appropriately. Fighting these ‘windmills’ requires substantial efforts without benefitting patients.

The development of alternative genres that could provide patients with reliable and understandable information about medicines is essential. Novel prototypes that show what clear and understandable information really looks like are urgently required.

Slovensko:
Stanje: Informacije o zdravilih
Brez vizualnih informacij je zelo težko pravilno ravnati z zdravili. Zgibanke, embalaža, spletne strani in lekarniške nalepke bolnikom ponujajo različna besedila in podobe, da bi jih informirali o odmerku, pravilnem jemanju zdravil, stranskih učinkih, opozorilih in hranjenju zdravil. Žal te vizualne informacije ne tvorijo »učinkovitih navodil in opozoril«, temveč so pogosto vzrok za zmedo in preplah. Zdravniške napake, rastoči stroški zdravil in neučinkovita uporaba se zdijo neizogibni del tega sistema.

Zadeva: Štiri vprašljive predpostavke
Glavna praktična naloga je prepričati bolnike, naj ustrezno in učinkovito jemljejo zdravila. To je problematično. Razlog za to so po vsej verjetnosti napačne predpostavke, ki so temelj pravnega okvira razvoja vizualnih informacij za bolnike. Prva predpostavka je, da sta standardizacija in strogo določanje potrebnih informacij v pomoč bolnikom. Druga predpostavka je, da bolniki niso glavni vplivni dejavnik pri informacijah o zdravilih. Tretja predpostavka je, da morajo vladni organi enako nadzorovati »zdravila« in »informacije«. Četrta predpostavka pa je podcenjevanje sposobnosti bolnikov, da prepoznajo in interpretirajo informacije o zdravilih. Te štiri predpostavke vodijo k mnenju, da je treba samo »zaščititi bolnike« pred »napačnimi in nepopolnimi« informacijami. Posledica tega je množica navodil in predpisov o vizualnih informacijah.

Posledice: Rešujemo napačne probleme
Trenutni razvojni proces informacij o zdravilih teče stran od preizkušenih procesov razvijanja ustreznih argumentov, ki bi lahko prepričali bolnike. Obstajajo odstopanja v izbiri vsebine ter v strukturi in slogu argumentiranja. Posledica je nepotrebno zapletena interpretacija vizualnih informacij o zdravilih.

Pristop: Razvijanje alternativnih prototipov
Analize kažejo, da so glavni krivec štiri predpostavke o »učinkoviti komunikaciji«. Te predpostavke ovirajo razvoj ustreznih vizualnih argumentov, ki bi bolnike lahko spodbudili k pravilnem ravnanju z zdravili. Boj proti tem »mlinom na veter« zahteva precejšen napor, kar pa ne koristi bolnikom.

Nujno je treba razvijati alternativne oblike, ki bi bolnikom ponudili zanesljive in razumljive podatke o zdravilih. Nujno potrebujemo nove prototipe, ki bi pokazali, kakšne so jasne in razumljive informacije.

See Also:

Download slides icon Download slides: aml2010_waarde_viamp_01.pdf (2.7 MB)

Download slides icon Download slides: aml2010_waarde_viamp_01.ppt (19.8 MB)


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