Prescribing Advice for GPs

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Decision Aids may improve compliance

The Archives of Internal Medicine has published a paper that aimed to examine the impact of using Decision Aids to help patients make informed decisions about their medicines and thus improve compliance.

The study was a small study involving 98 patients with diabetes who were seen in an outpatient setting and provided with information about their 10-year cardiovascular risk. They were randomly provided with a standard pamphlet about statins or a tailored decision aid presenting information about absolute risk reduction and potential disadvantages to statin therapy.

Patients in the latter group were found to have a better understanding of the risks and benefits of treatment and were better prepared to make a decision about their own treatment. It was also observed that fewer patients in this group reported missing one or more doses at three months follow up (6% versus 21% in the control group).

This study demonstrates that provision of information is a key step in healthcare provision. Use of decision aids appears to provide patients with the information they need to make a decision and may improve medication compliance. Improved compliance is likely to improve outcomes and reduce waste.

Action: Clinicians should use Decision Aids and other tools to provide information to patients. Better transfer of information is likely to improve patient understanding of the therapy and may provide improved outcomes and reduced waste.

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