The number of medical practitioners in the developed world has increased but in relative terms their incomes have decreased. Published comments suggest that some doctors are dissatisfied with what they earn. However doctors are still perceived as having a high status in society. Publicly available data suggests that doctors chose to live and work in affluent suburbs where arguably the need for their skills is less than that in neighbouring deprived areas. The gender balance in medicine is also changing with more women entering the workforce and a greater acceptance of parttime working arrangements. In some countries doctors have relinquished the responsibility for emergency out of hours care in general practice and personal continuity of care is no longer on offer. The profession is also challenged by policy makers’ enthusiasm for guidelines while the focus on multidisciplinary teamwork makes it more likely that patients will routinely be able to consult professionals other than medical practitioners. At the same time the internet has changed patient expectations so that health care providers will be expected to deploy information technology to satisfy patients. Medicine still has a great deal to offer. Information may be readily available on the internet, but it is not an independently sufficient, prerequisite for people to contend with the physical and psychological distress associated with disease and disability. We need to understand and promote the crucial role doctors play in society at a time of tremendous change in the attitudes to, and within, the profession.
Doctors; profession; income; working hours
Patient decision aids (PDAs) help to support patients in making an informed and value-based decision. Despite advancement in decision support technologies over the past 30 years, most PDAs are still inaccessible and few address individual needs. Health innovation may provide a solution to bridge these gaps. Information and computer technology provide a platform to incorporate individual profiles and needs into PDAs, making the decision support more personalised. Health innovation may enhance accessibility by using mobile, tablet and Internet technologies; make risk communication more interactive; and identify patient values more effectively. In addition, using databases to capture patient data and the usage of PDAs can help: developers to improve PDAs’ design; clinicians to facilitate the decisionmaking process more effectively; and policy makers to make shared decision making more feasible and cost-effective. Health innovation may hold the key to advancing PDAs by creating a more personalised and effective decision support tool for patients making healthcare decisions.
Patient decision aids; shared decision making; health innovation
This paper explores the role of empathy within new product development from the perspective of human-centred design. The authors have developed a range of empathic design tools and strategies that help to identify authentic human needs.
For products and services to be effective, they need to satisfy both functional and emotional needs of individuals. In addition, the individual user needs to feel that the product and/or service has been designed ‘just for them’, otherwise they may misuse, underuse or abandon the product/service. This becomes critical with a product such as a Zimmer frame (walker), when it fails to resonate with the patient due to any stigma the patient may perceive, and thus remains unused.
When training young designers to consider the wider community (people unlike themselves) during the design process, it has proven extremely valuable to take them outside their comfort zones, by seeking to develop empathy with the end user for whom they are designing. Empathic modelling offers designers the opportunity to develop greater insight and understanding, in order to support more effective design outcomes. Sensitising designers to the different ways that individuals complete daily tasks has helped to diminish the gap between themselves and others (e.g. people with disabilities).
The authors intend for this paper to resonate with health care providers. Human-centred design can help to refocus the designer, by placing the individual end user’s needs at the heart of their decision-making.
Empathy; human-centred design; research strategies; shared language; authentic human behaviour
Previously, the main focus of primary health care practices was to diagnose and treat patients. The identification of risk factors for disease and the prevention of chronic conditions have become a part of everyday practice. This paper provides an argument for training primary health care (PHC) practitioners in health promotion, while encouraging them to embrace innovation within their practice to streamline the treatment process and improve patient outcomes. Electronic modes of communication, education and training are now commonplace in many medical practices. The PHC sector has a small window of opportunity in which to become leaders within the current model of continuity of care by establishing their role as innovators in the prevention, treatment and management of disease. Not only will this make their own jobs easier, it has the potential to significantly impact patient outcomes.
Innovation; primary health care; health promotion
Software development is hard enough for specialist software companies to get right. For people outside the industry it can be a minefield full of hidden surprises. This articles hopes to explain why software development is so hard, how to go about approaching a software development project, and how to get the best out of any collaboration with a development team. It should be read by anyone who is considering developing a software product, including websites, from a non-development.
Software development; Agile methodology; Software product
Building alliances with industrial designers offers health innovators a unique pathway to create new modes to serve their patients. Cross-pollination of ideas from the earliest stages of development in interdisciplinary research and development teams including major stakeholders and designers can lead to more meaningful and impactful innovations.
A shift in future healthcare from cure to prevention will rely more heavily upon the individual. The home environment will house consumer medical devices that will carry out basic monitoring of the individual. While technologies are currently being developed to support this trend, there is a gulf that exists between the often-complex interfaces required by the highly specific functionality of products and the emotional needs of the target user. If a target user ‘feels’ a product was designed ‘just for them’ they are more likely to develop an emotional bond with that product. This manifests itself in the user engaging and interacting with the product. If a product, regardless of its high functionality, does not resonate with the user, this tends to result in product underuse, misuse and possible abandonment. When those products are related to a course of medical rehabilitation or treatment, these results could be translated to ‘more compliant’ and ‘less compliant’ and ultimately can impact upon how a person heals.
Industrial designers focus on ensuring that both the functional and emotional needs of mainstream users as well as technical-expert-users are met. Design research provides the opportunity to bridge the gap between the functional requirements and the less tangible unmet needs of the user by exploring authentic human behaviour.
This paper presents case studies of collaborative, interdisciplinary teams employing human-centred design and empathic research strategies (incorporating shared language, collaboration, ethnography, empathy and empathic modelling) to create real solutions that are responding to real needs of real users.
The future is interdisciplinary. The future is bright.
Human-centred design; research strategies; emotional needs; authentic human behaviour
The development of innovations for clinical practice warrants active engagement of clinicians in the research process. This requires attention to factors that serve as incentive to participate. The explanation for the success of factors that encourage practitioners to participate in research can be found in sources of satisfaction and dissatisfaction with clinical practice. It is also important to consider intrinsic incentives such as common and troublesome clinical presentations that are related to workload or unsatisfactory clinical encounters. This review will consider each of these factors and suggest ways in which clinicians, especially general practitioners, may be invited to assist on research projects.
Research; general practice; innovation; workload
The ability to communicate to others and express ourselves is a basic human need. As we develop our understanding of the world, based on our upbringing, education and so on, our perspective and the way we communicate can differ from those around us. Engaging and interacting with others is a critical part of healthy living. It is the responsibility of the individual to ensure that they are understood in the way they intended.
Shared language refers to people developing understanding amongst themselves based on language (e.g. spoken, text) to help them communicate more effectively. The key to understanding language is to first notice and be mindful of your language. Developing a shared language is an ongoing process that requires intention and time, which results in better understanding.
Shared language is critical to collaboration, and collaboration is critical to business and education. With whom and how many people do you connect? Your 'shared language' makes a difference in the world. So, how do we successfully do this? This paper shares several strategies.
Your sphere of influence will carry forward what and how you are communicating. Developing and nurturing a shared language is an essential element to enhance communication and collaboration whether it is simply between partners or across the larger community of business and customers. Constant awareness and education is required to maintain the shared language. We are living in an increasingly smaller global community. Business is built on relationships. If you invest in developing shared language, your relationships and your business will thrive.
Language; communication; creativity; design coaching; empathy
Medication error has been identified as a major factor affecting patient safety. Many innovative efforts such as Computerised Physician Order Entry (CPOE), a Pharmacy Information System, automated dispensing machines and Point of Administration Systems have been carried out with the aim of improving medication safety. However, areas remain that require urgent attention. One main area will be the lack of continuity of care due to the breakdown of communication between multiple healthcare providers. Solutions may include consideration of “health smart cards” that carry vital patient medical information in the form of a “credit card” or use of the Malaysian identification card. However, costs and technical aspects associated with the implementation of this health smart card will be a significant barrier. Security and confidentiality, on the other hand, are expected to be of primary concern to patients. Challenges associated with the implementation of a health smart card might include physician buy-in for use in his or her everyday practice. Training and technical support should also be available to ensure the smooth implementation of this system. Despite these challenges, implementation of a health smart card moves us closer to seamless care in our country, thereby increasing the productivity and quality of healthcare.
Health innovation; patient safety
Cardiovascular disease (CVD) remains the leading cause of morbidity and mortality worldwide. Despite efforts to tackle CVD, its prevalence continues to escalate in almost every country. The problem requires an exploration of novel ways to uncover solutions. Health innovations that embrace new knowledge and technology possess the potential to revolutionize the management of CVD. Using findings from published studies on CVD, researchers generated innovations in the areas of global risk assessment, home and remote monitoring and bedside testing. The use of pharmacogenetics and methods to support lifestyle changes represent other potential topics for innovations. Gaps in existing knowledge and practice of CVD provide opportunities for the development of new ideas, practices and technology. However, healthcare professionals need to be cognisant of the limitations of health innovations and advocate for safeguarding patients’ wellbeing.
Health innovations; cardiovascular diseases
A group of individuals who share common beliefs form a culture in which they communicate their values and attributes about certain aspects of society. Sex education remains one of the early teachings that humans experience irrespective of the race or level of development of a given society. However, different cultures perceive sex education differently due to differences in attitudes and beliefs, leading to significant diversity in the management of sex education among different societies across the globe. Many studies have found that in a traditional society with a homogeneous culture, the foremost reason for the different approaches to sex education is related to traditional values, in addition to other factors such as religion and political belief. In order to improve sex education, and consequently, sexual health in a modern multicultural society such as Australia, it becomes imperative to identify the inconsistency in beliefs about sex education among individuals with different cultural backgrounds in the Australian population. In this report, the author highlights similarities and differences in the methods employed by certain cultures of the Australian population. The report considers the different cultural environments of specific societies, the prevalence of sex education in these societies and how culture influences the prevalence. The concluding thoughts reflect on the success of the education programs in Australia, based on the idea that resolving the problems of sex education needs support from a number of bodies within Australian society.
Sex education; multiculturalism; sexual health
Diabetes Mellitus (DM) is a chronic disease that carries a significant disease burden in Australia and worldwide. The aim of this paper is to identify current barriers in the management of diabetes, ascertain whether there is a benefit from early detection and determine whether LDF has the potential to reduce the disease burden of DM by reviewing the literature relating to its current uses and development. In this literature review search terms included; laser Doppler flowmetry, diabetes mellitus, barriers to management, uses, future, applications, vasomotion, subcutaneous, cost. Databases used included Google Scholar, Scopus, Science Direct and Medline. Publications from the Australian government and textbooks were also utilised. Articles reviewed had access to the full text and were in English.
Diabetes Mellitus; Laser Doppler Flowmetry; Vasomotion; Pre-diabetes.
Surgical site infections are the most common nosocomial infection among surgical patients. Patients who experience surgical site infections are associated with prolonged hospital stay, rehospitalisation, increased morbidity and mortality, and costs. Consequently, surgical antimicrobial prophylaxis (SAP), which is a very brief course of antibiotic given just before the surgery, has been introduced to prevent the occurrence of surgical site infections. The efficacy of SAP depends on several factors, including selection of appropriate antibiotic, timing of administration, dosage, duration of prophylaxis and route of administration. In many institutions around the globe, evidence-based guidelines have been developed to advance the proper use of SAP. This paper aims to review the studies on surgeons' adherence to SAP guidelines and factors influencing their adherence. A wide variation of overall compliance towards SAP guidelines was noted, ranging from 0% to 71.9%. The misuses of prophylactic antibiotics are commonly seen, particularly inappropriate choice and prolonged duration of administration. Lack of awareness of the available SAP guidelines, influence of initial training, personal preference and influence from colleagues were among the factors which hindered the surgeons' adherence to SAP guidelines. Immediate actions are needed to improve the adherence rate as inappropriate use of SAP can lead to the emergence of a strain of resistant bacteria resulting in a number of costs to the healthcare system. Corrective measures to improve SAP adherence include development of guidelines, education and effective dissemination of guidelines to targeted surgeons and routine audit of antibiotic utilisation by a dedicated infection control team.
Surgeon; adherence; compliance; surgical antimicrobial prophylaxis; antibiotic
As part of our research team's knowledge transfer and exchange (KTE) initiatives, we developed a six-minute video-clip to enable productive deliberations among technology developers, clinicians and patient representatives. This video-clip summarises in plain language the valuable goals and features that are embedded in health technology and raises questions regarding the direction that should be taken by health care innovations. The use of such video-clips creates unique opportunities for face-to-face deliberations by enabling participants to interact and debate policy issues that are pivotal to the sustainability of health care systems. In our experience, we found that audiovisual-elicitation-based KTE initiatives can fill an important communication gap among key stakeholders: pondering, from a health care system perspective, why and how certain kinds of medical technologies bring a more valuable response to health care needs when compared to others.
Health Technology; Values; Health Care Systems; Audiovisual-elicitation-based Methodology; Knowledge Transfer and Exchange.
The Maori and Pacific Islands peoples of New Zealand suffer a greater burden of type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) and associated comorbidities than their European counterparts. Empirical evidence supports the clinical application of aerobic and resistance training for effective diabetes management and potential remission, but few studies have investigated the effectiveness of these interventions in specific ethnic cohorts. We recently conducted the first trial to investigate the effect of prescribed exercise training in Polynesian people with T2DM. This article presents the cultural considerations undertaken to successfully implement the study. The research procedures were accepted and approved by cultural liaisons and potential participants. The approved methodology involved a trial evaluating and comparing the effects of two, 16-week exercise regimens (i.e. aerobic training and resistance training) on glycosylated haemoglobin (HbA1c), related diabetes markers (i.e. insulin resistance, blood lipids, relevant cytokines and anthropometric and hemodynamic indices) and health-related quality of life. Future exercise-related research or implementation strategies in this cohort should focus on cultural awareness and techniques to enhance participation and compliance. Our approach to cultural consultation could be considered by researchers undertaking trials in this and other ethnic populations suffering an extreme burden of T2DM, including indigenous Australians and Americans.
Resistance; Aerobic; Obesity; Maori; Pacific Islands; Polynesia; Ethnic; High-Risk
At least one in a hundred consultations in general practice in Australia involves women being treated for breast cancer. The challenges presented during these consultations test the quality of primary care. Firstly, women are reported to prefer to discuss their breast cancer-related problems with a specialist even though research suggests that patients generally prefer to consult with a general practitioner (GP). The extent to which these patients will have maintained or return to their previous level of functioning will be a reflection on the quality of primary care, as some breast cancer-related health issues may persist beyond the time period when they are undergoing specialist review. Further, psychosocial matters, sexuality and relationships may require repeated review and perhaps consultations involving family members and would therefore be better addressed by a GP. An increasingly urgent need exists to review how best to support people who are successfully treated for life limiting illnesses, such as breast cancer.
Breast cancer; primary care; cancer morbidity
Disability is a complex phenomenon. It reflects an interaction between features of a person's body and features of the society in which he or she lives. International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health (ICF), lays stress on the functional as well as the structural problem of a person. All the definitions of disability also include the disorders of the reproductive and endocrine system. So infertility and impotency should also be included in the category of disability. It affects the participation in areas of life and can have a disabling affect on an individual. Like any other disability the couple has to adapt and integrate infertility in their sense of self thus infertility comes as a major life crisis. Medically, infertility, in most cases, is considered to be the result of a physical impairment or a genetic abnormality. Socially, couples are incapable of their reproductive or parental roles. On social level, infertility in most cultures remains associated with social stigma and taboo just like the social model of disability. Couples who are unable to reproduce may be looked down upon due to social stigmatisation. Infertility can lead to divorces and separation leading to a broken family life. Without labelling infertility as a disability, it is difficult for the people to access services and welfare benefits offered by the government. Infertility treatments are highly sophisticated so they are very expensive and are even not covered by insurance and government aid.
In the light of all this it becomes imperative to categorise infertility as disability.
Generalist; Doctor; Consultation; Interruption
Medicine; Doctor; Roles; Society
The advent of Internet forums that facilitate peer-to-peer human milk sharing has resulted in health authorities stating that sharing human milk is dangerous. There are risks associated with all forms of infant feeding, including breastfeeding and the use of manufactured infant formulas. However, health authorities do not warn against using formula or breastfeeding; they provide guidance on how to manage risk. Cultural distaste for sharing human milk, not evidenced-based research, supports these official warnings. Regulating bodies should conduct research and disseminate information about how to mitigate possible risks of sharing human milk, rather than proscribe the practice outright.
Infant formula; breast milk; health policy; wet nursing; food contamination
Athletes are high achievers who may seek creative or unconventional methods to improve performance. The literature indicates that athletes are among the heaviest users of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) and thus may pioneer population trends in CAM use. Unlike non-athletes, athletes may use CAM not just for prevention, treatment or rehabilitation from illness or injuries, but also for performance enhancement. Assuming that athletes' creative use of anything unconventional is aimed at “legally” improving performance, CAM may be used because it is perceived as more “natural” and erroneously assumed as not potentially doping. This failure to recognise CAMs as pharmacological agents puts athletes at risk of inadvertent doping.
The general position of the World Anti-Doping Authority (WADA) is one of strict liability, an application of the legal proposition that ignorance is no excuse and the ultimate responsibility is on the athlete to ensure at all times whatever is swallowed, injected or applied to the athlete is both safe and legal for use. This means that a violation occurs whether or not the athlete intentionally or unintentionally, knowingly or unknowingly, used a prohibited substance/method or was negligent or otherwise at fault. Athletes are therefore expected to understand not only what is prohibited, but also what might potentially cause an inadvertent doping violation. Yet, as will be discussed, athlete knowledge on doping is deficient and WADA itself sometimes changes its position on prohibited methods or substances. The situation is further confounded by the conflicting stance of anti-doping experts in the media. These highly publicised disagreements may further portray inconsistencies in anti-doping guidelines and suggest to athletes that what is considered doping is dependent on the dominant political zeitgeist. Taken together, athletes may believe that unless a specific and explicit ruling is made, guidelines are open to interpretation. Therefore doping risk-taking behaviours may occur because of the potential financial, social and performance gains and the optimistically biased interpretation (that trying alternatives is part of the “spirit of sport”) and doping risk-taking behaviours may occur.
This discussion paper seeks to situate the reader in a world where elite level sports and CAM intersects. It posits that an understanding of the underlying motivation for CAM use and doping is currently lacking and that anti-doping rules need to be repositioned in the context of the emerging phenomenon and prevalence of CAM use.
Doping; complementary and alternative medicine; sports law; biopsychology
Human resource capacity building is a key strategy in the design, delivery, sustainability and scale up HIV treatment and prevention programmes. The review aims to present human resource capacity building initiatives undertaken by the National AIDS Control Organisation (NACO) and to discuss the available opportunities in India.
There was minimal emphasis on human resource capacity building in National AIDS control programme (NACP)-I. The focus of capacity building in NACP-II was on strengthening the capacity of partners implementing various HIV/AIDS interventions. NACP-III (2007–2012) focussed on capacity building as a priority agenda. Other than short-term training programmes, NACP-III is strengthening the capacity of partners through the State Training and Resource Centre, Technical Support Unit, District AIDS Prevention Control Unit, Fellowship Programme and Network of Indian Institutions for HIV/AIDS Research.
Various opportunities to enhance and consolidate capacity building responses in HIV/AIDS in India may include mainstreaming of capacity building, appropriate management of knowledge and resources, effective delivery of training, measuring and documenting impact,accreditation of programmes and institutes,use of information technology, identifying and implementing innovations and working for sustainability.
Growing demand for capacity-building in HIV/AIDS needs substantial efforts to ensure that these are implemented effectively and efficiently. NACO had made significant strides in these regards, but at the same time there are arduous challenges like measuring impact, quality, documentation, operational research, and sustainability. NACO is formulating Phase-IV of NACP. This review will provide feedback to the NACO for strengthening its strategic document for human resource capacity building.
Human resource capacity building; NACO; HIV/AIDS
With the aid of internal tobacco industry documents, this paper provides a chronology of events documenting the role of the Philip Morris tobacco company in the 1993 litigation case against the Burswood International Resort Casino (BIRC). The paper also examines the implications of this case for the regulation of second hand smoke exposure.
A systematic keyword search and analysis of internal tobacco industry documents was conducted using documents available on the World Wide Web through the Master Settlement Agreement.
The industry documents provide comprehensive evidence that the Philip Morris tobacco company provided assistance to the BIRC in its defence against action by the Western Australian government. The Philip Morris tobacco company, along with others, sought to publicise and promote the outcome as a ‘landmark example’ to lobby against the implementation of indoor smoking bans.
Philip Morris' investment in the BIRC defence demonstrated the industry's recognition of the potential significance of the case beyond Western Australia. Involvement in the BIRC case assisted the wider tobacco industry by helping to prolong smoking at casinos and other Australian hospitality venues. The findings contribute to our understanding of the history of tobacco industry strategies implemented in Western Australia and internationally to slow tobacco control progress, and the preparedness of the tobacco industry to exploit favourable developments originating anywhere in the world.
Tobacco; tobacco industry; second hand smoke; Burswood Casino; policy
This paper provides a comprehensive account of how the tobacco industry, over time, has promoted its products to young people.
A comprehensive search of tobacco industry documents relating to youth smoking was conducted using documents available on the World Wide Web through the Master Settlement Agreement.
The documents provide evidence that the industry invested great time and resources in developing strategies to attract young people through Youth Smoking Prevention strategies (including education strategies) and marketing to youth. The results include information from published literature and direct excerpts from the tobacco industry documents.
The tobacco industry documents confirm that the tobacco industry has promoted and supported strategies that are ineffective in reducing smoking by youth, and opposed strategies that have proven to be effective. It is clear from the documents reviewed that the industry values the youth market and through a number of measures continues to promote its products to young people.
Youth; tobacco; tobacco industry
General practitioners (GPs) are considered a trusted and reliable source of health-related information including nutritional advice. Preliminary investigation found that GPs wanted evidence-based nutrition resources that could be used within a 10 minute consultation.
The aim of the study was to identify and critically review current resources available to GPs that promote seafood consumption within a healthy diet, as a preventative or treatment measure for common lifestyle or medical conditions.
English language resources currently available to GPs in 2008 were sourced through multiple avenues including: individual organisations; medical service networks; health information services and internet search engines. Assessment included critical review of: format; appropriateness for target groups; reference to seafood and supporting evidence; credibility; readability; and suitability for use by practitioners in a short consultation.
One hundred and twenty resources were identified. The majority (88.4%, n=106) of identified resource were available Electronically. Just over half (57.5%, n=69) of the resources were targeted at specific audiences. All of the resources made reference to the health benefits of regular consumption of fish (100%, n=120), 22.5% (n=27) made reference to seafood in general and 5% (n=6) made reference to fish oil. Only 15% (n=18) of the identified resources were suitable for use with the general Australian population at or below the recommended reading level of Year Eight. The majority (87.5%, n=105) of the identified resources were associated with credible sources of information about the health benefits of regular consumption of seafood.
This study found that the majority of resources available to GPs were not suitable for use with the general Australian population at the recommended reading level of Year 8 or lower. Whilst it is acknowledged that written health information alone cannot change health behaviours, it can provide accurate information to assist in making changes to behaviours with support from appropriate health care professionals.
General Practitioners; nutrition education; seafood