This year during Be Medicinewise week the National Prescribing Service (NPS) is encouraging clinicians to promote Australians taking charge of their health by being medicinewise, and raising awareness on the importance of having conversations about medicines.
Be Medicinewise week (last week!) suggested clinicians ask patients to keep in mind 3 key pieces of advice to take control of their own health:
1. Ask the right questions
- Be involved
- Ask medicinewise questions
- Take charge of your medical tests
2. Ask the right people
- Don’t rely on Dr Google
- Find trusted, reliable information
- Communication is key
3. Follow the right advice
- Don’t stop medicines without advice
- Continue to take your medicines
- Equip yourself with the right tools
These 3 strategies of health mindfulness have significant implications for both the patient and many areas of health practice. When it comes to antibiotics and antimicrobial stewardship, there are numerous potential areas for promoting responsible use of antibiotics and antimicrobials. For example, patients are being encouraged to ask 5 questions when taking medications:
Knowing that antibiotics are for bacterial infections, not a viral infections, and knowing the difference can educate patients as to when to seek antibiotics, reducing pressure on doctors to prescribe them.
Within the myriad of brand names, knowing the active ingredient can help patients keep track of their particular antibiotic use and guide doctors in their treatment decisions.
Using an antibiotic correctly will improve its efficacy and reduce the potential need for further antimicrobial treatment/use.
Knowing about potential side effects and what to do if they occur can drastically improve patient adherence to correct antimicrobial use.
Knowing what should or shouldn’t be done can affect antibiotic regimen adherence, the need for further treatment and improve patient outcomes.
The Be Medicinewise week is a great opportunity to promote safer and more responsible prescribing practices, in particular when it comes to the use of antimicrobials. The NPSMedicineWise organisation has several resources for supporting clinicians make the most out of Be Medicinewise week.