Saturday, July 26, 2014

Presenting medical information in an way it can be understood.

Drs. Lisa Schwartz and Steven Woloshin designed this "fact box" as a prototype
to show how package inserts for medicines could be more helpful.
This example is from a story done by NPR on current efforts to make medical information more available to patients. A lot of the discussion I see about the presentation of information emphasizes the graphical presentation,  and for that matter I have been very impressed by video and interactive presentations. But often a good table is what you need, as suggested by the one illustrated above.

My nephew recently wrote an article on the importance of changing medical practice to more fully involve patients in decision making with regard to their own care. He knows more about that than I ever will, but that seems like a very good idea to me. If nothing else, that would be more likely to encourage compliance with selected treatments. But to involve patients meaningfully in the selection of their medications, one needs to present the information about the drugs in a form that the patient can understand. (For that matter, I wonder how many doctors work their way through the information presented by the companies for the drugs that might be prescribed for the patients that they treat.)

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