This combined mobile app and website aim to support healthcare professionals, patients and carers to make shared decisions about medicines, based on the Scottish Government's Polypharmacy Guidance: Realistic Prescribing, 3rd edition.
The care of patients with multi-morbidities (multiple medical conditions) is one of the greatest challenges now faced by the health service, as it can create overly complex health care for some of the most vulnerable in society. The vast majority of medical research, guidelines and contractual agreements has traditionally focussed on single targets for single disease states, whereas in reality most patients have multiple conditions, requiring multiple treatments. The resulting polypharmacy (use of multiple medicines) can be appropriate or inappropriate and can potentially result in risks that outweigh the benefits of individual medicines.
By making the Polypharmacy Guidance available through this combined app and website to both professionals and patients, the aim is to help healthcare professionals to work in partnership with patients to make shared decisions that will ensure their medicines are safe and appropriate and support what matters most to them in their lives.
This resource outlines a 7-Steps process which provides a clear structure for both the initiation of new treatments, and the review of existing treatments. Throughout the 7 Steps there is a central emphasis on ‘what matters to the patient’? as a key driving force for decisions. The resource also provides patients and healthcare professionals with summary information about “numbers needed to treat (“NNT”) for various medicines. The NNT is the average number of patients who need to be treated to prevent one additional bad outcome. This information may provide a starting point for the conversation between professional and patient about the likelihood of benefit from different medicines, and in some cases the potential for other approaches such as self-management.
This resource has been developed by Scottish Government Effective Prescribing and Therapeutics Division, in collaboration with the Digital Health and Care Division and Digital Health and Care Institute, supported by the Polypharmacy Guidance Review Group and patient representatives. We are keen to gather your feedback and suggestions on how we can improve this resource for the future.