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A Systematic Review of Written Medicines Information

A major new systematic review, funded by the NHS, will assess research into written information available to the patient (from pharmacies and elsewhere) at any time after the decision has been made to prescribe or purchase a medicine.  This includes research into the role and value of such information (from the patient, carer and professional perspectives), as well as effectiveness studies.
 
Research Question
  • What is the role and value of written information available to patients about individual medicines from the perspective of patients themselves, carers and professionals.
  • How effective is written information available to patients about individual medicines in improving patients' knowledge and understanding of treatment, and improving self-management of illness and health outcomes.
  
Methodology
Systematic review of the qualitative and quantitative research into the role and effectiveness of written medicines information of patients on individual medicines, with synthesis of expert opinion from the health information and information design domains.
 
Sample Group
The review will cover research into written information available to the patient (from pharmacies and elsewhere) at any time after the decision had been made to prescribe or purchase a medicine. This includes research into the role and value of information (from the patient carer and professional perspectives as well as effectiveness studies).
 
Outcome Measures
  1. A systematic review of the impact, role and value of written medicine information from the perspective of different stakeholders; in particular its effect on satisfaction, decisions about medicine-taking and quality of patient-profesional relationships.
  2. A systematic review of the quantitative research on the effectiveness of written medicine-specific information for patients (taking into account the content, tone, design and delivery method of the intervention).
  3. Integration of the body of research into health information and information design into this setting
  4. Synthesis of the above evidence to produce guidance for all stakeholders in the medicines information for patients domain
  5. Identify gaps in the literature and direct future research.
 
Abstract
A systematic review of the qualitative and quantitative research into the role and effectiveness of written medicines information of patients on individual medicines, with synthesis of expert opinion from the health information and information design domains.
The review will cover research into written information available to the patient (from pharmacies and elsewhere) at any time after the decision has been made to prescribe or purchase a medicine.  This includes research into the role and value of such information (from the patient, carer and professional perspectives), as well as effectiveness studies.  Specific search strategies will be developed for each of the major electronic databases and literature sources in health, behavioural sciences and pharmacy.  We will hand-search key journals and contact major players, such as the pharmaceutical industry, for unpublished or unidentified studies.
The review of the identified papers will be undertaken in two parallel strands: the first looking at the role and value of the information and the second looking at the effectiveness studies.  The former will include qualitative data generated in both controlled and non-controlled designs using an established and accepted method.  Some studies may include data relevant to both strands.  For the effectiveness review, we will include all randomised controlled trials, but other studies will be considered, if necessary, using the methods of the Cochrane "Effective Practice and Organisation of Care" Review Group.
A largely qualitative synthesis is expected, presented as a report which will provide guidance for NHS policy makers, regulators, industry and others producing medicines information for patients.  In addition, priorities for future research will be described.  We will prepare at least one paper for peer reviewed publication.
The review will be overseen by the Leeds-Keele Systematic Review Group, a full list of members is available to download below (in pdf format).

Related Documents
 
In pdf format