Description (ENG)

Do no harm

Problem: majority of patient if their life is not in immediate danger have rather low level of compliance when it comes to doctor’s orders. At best an average patient will not complete prescribed therapy in full. Moreover, majority of patients nowadays consult Goggle as a primary care physician and ask for “second opinion” seconds after leaving the doctors office. The number of health-related searches are staggering.

In majority of cases these inquiries are the result of two factors: first - the doctors simply don’t have time to explain much about your condition and prescribed therapy, there are other patients in line, and second – when doctors do try to explain you what you’ve got and what to do it is hard to understand them and to remember 5 minutes later what was said.

The main issue with Google being the provider of a second opinion lies in the swarms of unreliable and sometimes harmful information that you get. Some countries did attempt to verify and certify websites that provide medical information but in what we’ve seen so far, the owners of the sites have to initiate the process of certification and some experts have to review the site after that and give some kind of a sticker to be displayed on a website. However, the meaning of this certification is known only to a small group of people and the wider population is not aware that they need to look for this sticker that deem content trustworthy.

In some countries due to the way insurance is setup patients are not as subjected to self-medicating as in other, since if the drug is not prescribed insurance will not cover it, however, adherence to the prescribed therapy is still quite an issue and need for additional but reliable information that will help to understand what is happening and what to do still quite a challenge.

Adherence is buzz word nowadays for pharmaceuticals, healthcare administrators, insurances, healthcare providers, because these stakeholders lose money and/or reputation if a patient does not don’t buy as much medicine as prescribed, the therapy is less effective thus a patient gets sick again etc.

Challenge: There has been some research done around adherence to therapy issue which showed (to some extent) that when a patient had a very clear image and understanding of what a diagnosis means, what happens in the body and how the prescribed medication helps, the level of adherence increases significantly.

Thus, the challenge is to find a way to provide patients with trustworthy clearly explained information about their situation and prescribed therapy, increase their adherence and prevent self-medication.

There might be other ways to influence patient’s behavior other than giving them understanding of what is happening and we will be happy to hear alternative approaches.

Some information and resources that might be helpful:

  1. There are computers in majority of doctors’ offices, however, internet connection might not be available. Smartphones and android tables are rather common.
  2. Doctors can give patients some materials, brochures etc., but only about their condition and not about the medications.
  3. New regulations that allow tele-medicine was recently passed, there for doctors now officially can work with a patient remotely after first F2F visit.
  4. In Russia we do not have a centralized system of patient records or any conventions and means of passing medical information from one institution to another and a lot of it still on paper.
  5. In majority of countries for most of medical conditions their standards of care developed my healthcare administrations and they are available online. These are more formal protocols of care. In addition to that professional medical associations issue clinical recommendation that are regularly updated to account results of new research and give doctors understanding of a accepted practice in diagnoses and treatment of patients. These recommendations differ slightly from country to country.
  6. There are online official drug reference sites that provide the information on indications, dosages etc.
  7. There are online libraries with medical articles and information on impact factors of the journals they were published in. Usually abstracts are open without registration.
  8. Some trends that we’ve seen so far pertaining to the issues at hand: all kind of apps and bots that are really just reminders to take the medication, also we see some pill boxes and bottles that monitor the number of pills left and “taken”, there are also a digital pill, basically a coating of a pill that sends a signal to your phone when the pill is digested in the stomach, face recognition apps that “confirm” that you took the pill (in front of a camera).