Doctors and pharmacists provision and opinions of medicines information leaflets in New Zealand
Background Providing verbal medicines information to patients may be insufficient. Providing medicine information leaflets could support verbal information, however New Zealand health professionals’ opinions or use of leaflets is unknown. Objective To examine self-reported provision and health professionals’ views about medicine information leaflets and to determine their support for tailoring patient leaflets. Setting A cross sectional survey of general practitioners (GPs) and community pharmacists in New Zealand primary care. Method GPs and pharmacists completed validated questionnaires. Data was collected using SurveyMonkey® and where applicable, Chi squared analysis was carried out. Main outcome measures Frequency of leaflet provision, how leaflets are used in practice and why, likes and dislikes of available leaflets, and opinions on providing tailored information. Results 143 GPs and 126 pharmacists responded. For new medicines, significantly more pharmacists than GPs reported providing leaflets all or most of the time. For repeat medicines, leaflets were more likely to be given only on request. Leaflets were given to ensure patients are well-informed. Most GPs and pharmacists report discussing sections of leaflets with patients. The likes and dislikes of leaflets were mostly about design and content. Both professions support tailoring leaflets to meet individual’s requirements. Conclusions Provision of medicines information needs to be re-evaluated. Relying on verbal communication is inadequate and leaflet provision appears to be suboptimal. Making leaflets more patient-centred and accessible could improve health professionals’ perceptions and use of them. Automated creation and provision of tailored summary leaflets would be beneficial. Further advantage could be gained by digital patient access.
KeywordsCounselling Medicine information New Zealand Patient education Patient information leaflet Tailored information
We gratefully acknowledge the GPs and pharmacists who participated in the study.
This research was undertaken with the aid of a PhD scholarship from the University of Otago, New Zealand.
Conflicts of interest
The authors have no conflicts of interest to declare.
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