The widespread use of the internet and the development of patient choice and empowerment are changing the health information landscape.
- People are online and using the internet to help them make decisions about their health and their medicines.
- The UK Government is empowering people to take ownership of their health and health care and has launched a number of initiatives to support this idea.
Datapharm’s suite of online eMC Medicines Information Services speaks to the changing health information landscape by providing comprehensive, up to date information about medicines to empower people and help them make informed decisions about their medicine taking.
Technology is revolutionising how and when people access information.
- There are 1.6 billion Google searches each day worldwide.
- 20 hours of videos are uploaded to You Tube every minute.
The widespread use of the internet has seen unprecedented numbers of people sourcing information and engaging in discussions about their health and medicines online.
- 50% of internet users in the UK went online to read information about a health condition or an illness (in a study between December 2007 and January 2008).1
- In a survey of people with long term conditions, 25% said that they changed their treatment as a result of information they found online (survey conducted between September 2009 and March 2010).2
- Users decide where to gather healthcare information - from Wikipedia and websites to blogging and social networking.
The development of patient choice and empowerment
In the UK, the Government is committed to empowering people, through knowledge and information, to help them take ownership of their health and health care, so they can:
- understand their condition;
- make informed choices about medicine taking in partnership with their healthcare professionals; and
- make best use of the medicines they are prescribed.
It is believed that better informed choices may lead to better adherence to therapy, which could help to avoid more serious health problems in the future as well as reduce the amount of medicines that are wasted.
The Government’s vision for a health care system of the future is set out in the White papers: 'Better information, Better Choices, Better Health' (2004), and 'Our Health, Our Care, Our Say' (2006).
UK Government initiatives to support patient choice and empowerment
In 2008 the UK Government launched NHS Choices, THE online portal for patients into the NHS. NHS Choices is the country's biggest health website and provides all the information people need to make choices about their health.
The Government also recently launched the Information Standard. It is a new certification scheme that entitles producers of health and social care information, who meet rigorous quality criteria, to use the Information Standard quality mark on their information materials. This provides members of the public with a quick way of identifying sources of good quality, reliable information.
Datapharm's role in this new dynamic environment
Through our suite of online eMC Medicines Information Services, Datapharm provides comprehensive, up to date information about medicines for healthcare professionals, medicines users, carers, and the general public.
The eMC Medicine Guides resource is for medicine users, carers and the general public. It contains Medicine Guides for more than 2,700 medicines and has been selected as the medicines information resource for the NHS Choices website.
The eMC is for pharmacists, doctors and other healthcare professionals. The website contains both branded and generic medicines and contains over 4,800 SPCs and 3,800 PILs. It was voted one of 10 best health websites by the Sunday Times (28th June 2009). It has also been voted one of 10 best websites for pharmacists by Chemist+Druggist (31st March 2010).
We work hard to make sure that the information on our websites is accessible to as many people as possible by:
- working in partnership with others in the health sector, such as the NHS, voluntary health organisations, pharmaceutical companies and other information providers, to deliver good quality information about medicines; and
- making sure that we appear in the top 10 on search engines such as Google.
1. Data on file, Google 2009.
2. Data on file, Datapharm 2010.