19 Aug 2019
Australians are being urged to talk to their doctors and other healthcare providers if there is anything they don’t understand about the medicines they are being recommended to take.
This Be Medicinewise Week (19-25 August) – an annual campaign by NPS MedicineWise to raise awareness of the importance of being medicinewise – the focus is on helping people ‘get to know the language of medicines’.
NPS MedicineWise CEO Adj A/Prof Steve Morris said: “Being able to access and understand important information about medicines and having your questions answered by a healthcare professional is key to the safe and effective use of medicines.
“If a medicine is recommended to you, do you know what it is and why you need to take it? Do you understand the instructions? Are there any risks?” he said. “Knowing the answers to these questions is learning the language of medicines.”
The Choosing Wisely Australia initiative is working to reduce unnecessary tests, treatments and procedures by promoting better conversations between consumers and healthcare professionals about healthcare management. This includes empowering people to ask questions about the care recommended for them.
“We encourage you to ask questions about medicines – whether they are prescribed by a doctor or purchased over the counter. This will help ensure you have the information you need to get the most out of your medicines safely,” Mr Morris said.
“If you’re not sure what to ask, a handy 5 questions resource is available in English and now in 12 other languages to help you have that important conversation during your healthcare appointment.”
The questions are:
1. Do I really need this test, treatment or procedure?
2. What are the risks?
3. Are there simpler, safer options?
4. What happens if I don’t do anything?
5. What are the costs?
5 questions to ask your doctor or other healthcare provider before you get any test, treatment, or procedure can be downloaded in Arabic, Chinese simplified, Chinese traditional, Croation, Farsi, Greek, Italian, Korean, Macedonian, Spanish, Turkish and Vietnamese here.